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Neanderthals


  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Neanderthal molar suggests early weaning

    Modern mothers love to debate how long to breast-feed, a topic that stirs both guilt and pride. Now — in a very preliminary finding — the Neanderthals are weighing in.By looking at barium levels in the fossilized molar of a Neanderthal child, researchers concluded that the child had been breast-fed exclusively for the first seven months, followed by seven months of mother’s milk supplemented by other food. Then the barium pattern in the tooth enamel “returned to baseline prenatal levels, indicating an abrupt cessation of breast-feeding at 1.2 years of age,” the scientists reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature.While that timetable conforms with the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics — which suggests that mothers exclusively breast-feed babies for six months and continue for 12 months if possible — it represents a much shorter span of breast-feeding than practiced by apes or a vast majority of modern humans. The average age of weaning in nonindustrial populations is about 2.5 years; in chimpanzees in the wild, it is about 5.3 years. Of course, living conditions were much different for our evolutionary cousins, the Neanderthals, extinct for the last 30,000 years....

  • Originally published 05/14/2013

    Study sheds light on Neanderthals

    Madrid, May 7 (EFE).- Eleven of the 13 Neanderthals who lived in northern Spain's El Sidron cave were right-handed, indicating that these cousins of modern humans had a brain structure similar to that of Homo sapiens, a study published in Plos One magazine said.Researchers, among them members of Spain's CSIC research council, analyzed grooves in more than 60 Neanderthal dental pieces.Manual laterality "reflects specialized organization of the brain, so its evolutionary origin has been the subject of research for decades," project director Antonio Rosas said....

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    Trove of Neanderthal Bones Found in Greek Cave

    A trove of Neanderthal fossils including bones of children and adults, discovered in a cave in Greece hints the area may have been a key crossroad for ancient humans, researchers say. The timing of the fossils suggests Neanderthals and humans may have at least had the opportunity to interact, or cross paths, there, the researchers added....

  • Originally published 03/29/2013

    First love child of human, Neanderthal found

    The skeletal remains of an individual living in northern Italy 40,000-30,000 years ago are believed to be that of a human/Neanderthal hybrid, according to a paper in PLoS ONE.If further analysis proves the theory correct, the remains belonged to the first known such hybrid, providing direct evidence that humans and Neanderthals interbred. Prior genetic research determined the DNA of people with European and Asian ancestry is 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal.The present study focuses on the individual’s jaw, which was unearthed at a rock-shelter called Riparo di Mezzena in the Monti Lessini region of Italy. Both Neanderthals and modern humans inhabited Europe at the time....

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    Researchers publish Neanderthal genome

    Researchers in Germany have completed the first high-quality sequencing of a Neanderthal genome.The scientific data gleaned from remains of a Neanderthal toe bone found in a Siberian cave are being made freely available online. The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig said in a statement Tuesday the high quality of the genome meant its scientists were already able to determine which parts of DNA were inherited from its mother and father....

  • Originally published 03/13/2013

    Neanderthals doomed by brains

    Neanderthals' keen vision may explain why they couldn't cope with environmental change and died out, despite having the same sized brains as modern humans, new research suggests.The findings, published today (March 12) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggest that Neanderthals developed massive visual regions in their brains to compensate for Europe's low light levels. That, however, reduced the brain space available for social cognition."We have a social brain, whereas Neanderthals appear to have a visual brain," said Clive Gamble, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton, who was not involved in the study....

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Last-stand Neanderthals queried

    We may need to look again at the idea that a late Neanderthal population existed in southern Spain as recently as 35,000 years ago, a study suggests.Scientists using a "more reliable" form of radiocarbon dating have re-assessed fossils from the region and found them to be far older than anyone thought.The work appears in the journal PNAS.Its results have implications for when and where we - modern humans - might have co-existed with our evolutionary "cousins", the Neanderthals....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Research team investigates demise of Neanderthals in Spain

    La Roca dels Bous, a Paleolithic site located near the southeastern Pyrenees of Spain, has been cited by archaeologists as a key location with Neanderthal-related remains that may shed light on the changes that may have contributed to the demise of the Neanderthals in Europe. Now, a team led by Dr. Rafael Mora of the University Autonomous of Barcelona will be returning to the site in 2013 to excavate and explore lithic assemblages, fossil bone, and other remains that may date as far back as 50,000 BP. The excavations may help research efforts focused on constructing a better understanding of the factors that may have contributed to the decline and eventual disappearance of humanity's most closely related extinct human species.  

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