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Author Topic: Late Neandertals and Modern Humans in Iberia  (Read 4935 times)
Bones
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« on: December 10, 2008, 04:06:50 AM »

Late Neandertals and modern human contact in southeastern Iberia

It is widely accepted that Upper Paleolithic early modern humans spread westward across Europe about 42,000 years ago, variably displacing and absorbing Neandertal populations in the process. However, Middle Paleolithic assemblages persisted for another 8,000 years in Iberia, presumably made by Neandertals. It has been unclear whether these late Middle Paleolithic Iberian assemblages were made by Neandertals, and what the nature of those humans might have been.

New research, published Dec. 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is now shedding some light on what were probably the last Neandertals.

The research is based on a study of human fossils found during the past decade at the Sima de la Palomas, Murcia, Spain by Michael Walker, professor at Universidad de Murcia, and colleagues, and published by Michael Walker, Erik Trinkaus, professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues.

The human fossils from the upper levels of the Sima de las Palomas are anatomically clearly Neandertals, and they are now securely dated to 40,000 years ago. They therefore establish the late persistence of Neandertals in this southwestern cul-de-sac of Europe. This reinforces the conclusion that the Neandertals were not merely swept away by advancing modern humans. The behavioral differences between these human groups must have been more subtle than the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic technological contrasts might imply.

In addition, the Palomas Neandertals variably exhibit a series of modern human features rare or absent in earlier Neandertals. Either they were evolving on their own towards the modern human pattern, or more likely, they had contact with early modern humans around the Pyrenees. If the latter, it implies that the persistence of the Middle Paleolithic in Iberia was a matter of choice, and not cultural retardation.

From the Sima de las Palomas, other late Neandertal sites, and recent discoveries of the earliest modern humans across Europe, a complex picture is emerging of shifting contact between behaviorally similar, if culturally and biologically different, human populations. Researchers are coming to see them all more as people, flexibly making a living through the changing human and natural landscapes of the Late Pleistocene.


http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-12/wuis-lna120808.php
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lagarvelho
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2008, 02:11:53 AM »

All:

Re these late Neandertals:

What do they mean by their "exhibiting modern features"?  I'm curious.
Anne G
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Bones
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2008, 04:00:21 AM »

Re these late Neandertals: What do they mean by their "exhibiting modern features"?  I'm curious.
Anne G
I was hoping someone could tell me.

The only clue a quick Google search revealed was Erik Trinkaus' reexamination of 1952 bones from Petera Muierii in Romania. He reached the same interbreeding conclusions there:
Quote
The team found that the fossils were 30,000 years old and principally have the diagnostic skeletal features of modern humans. They also found that the remains had other features known, among potential ancestors, primarily among the preceding Neandertals, providing more evidence there was mixing of humans and Neandertals as modern humans dispersed across Europe about 35,000 years ago. Their analysis of one skeleton's shoulder blade also shows that these humans did not have the full set of anatomical adaptations for throwing projectiles, like spears, during hunting. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103083616.htm

In a 2003 release on the same site, Trinkaus made claim of "the earliest known modern human fossil in Europe."
Quote
To determine the fossils' implications for human evolution, Trinkaus and colleagues performed radiocarbon dating of the jawbone (dating of the other remains is in progress) and a comparative anatomical analysis of the sample. The jawbone dates from between 34,000 and 36,000 years ago, placing the specimens in the period during which early modern humans overlapped with late surviving Neandertals in Europe.

Most of their anatomical characteristics are similar to those of other early modern humans found at sites in Africa, in the Middle East and later in Europe, but certain features, such as the unusual molar size and proportions, indicate their archaic human origins and a possible Neandertal connection. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030924055157.htm


see also, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423185434.htm

In sum, the specifics for making the Neandertal claim in the Iberian find are absent. Generally published specifics for making the same claim at the Romanian site are somewhat . . . shall we say unspecific.

The situation in Iberia may be further illuminated by going here: http://www.um.es/antropfisica/english/simadelaspalomas.html
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trehinp
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2008, 04:32:43 PM »

I had also found this short notice through another channel. I was about to post it but Bones was faster...

The news is quite interesting but at the same time frustrating: it tells about nothing on what was realy modern in Neanderthal's behaviour. I hope we will soon have more details on this specific finding. Isn't someone having contacts with the research team at Washington University in St. Louis ?

I couldn't find the research paper even after 1/2 an hours google research...

Yours sincerely.

Paul
 
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Paul Trehin
lagarvelho
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2008, 05:19:39 PM »

Well, I went to the Sima de los Palomas website, and it wasn't very informative, but that's all right; their research is ongoing.  Somebody might find the paper if they went directly to PNAS. I don't know whether it's freely available or not, but it's worth a try.  If you have to pay for it, I think it doesn't cost much, but again, I'm not sure.  I'd have to check on that. In any case, I'd *still* like to know what they mean by "exhibiting modern features".
Anne G
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Bones
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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2008, 07:59:31 AM »

The fact that it wasn't very informative told me something.
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lagarvelho
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2008, 05:57:56 PM »

Bones:

However, I have a copy of the paper in pdf, and if anybody wants it, I'll be glad to e-mail it to anybody that asks.  You can find me at avgilbert@clearwire.net, if interested
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Bones
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 01:57:40 AM »

Thanks for the paper, Anne. It was an early Christmas present.

B
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lagarvelho
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2008, 06:41:51 PM »

Bones:

I am glad I could make your Christmas a little cheerier.  Makes me feel like Santa Clause.  But I have  something of a collection of these papers, and it's always being added to.  And I'm happy to share with any interested party.
Anne G
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Pierre Francois Puech
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2009, 09:37:56 AM »

 



From Pierre Francois Puech:
The number, not competition, not climate, killed Neanderthals. The number allways win in population competitions, it has been the case for neanderthals opposed to anatomically modern humans. Studies of dental microwear of Zafarraya neanderthal from southern Spain (30-27, OOO BP) compared to the success neanderthal large group that occupied, 50,000 BP, the site of Hortus (south of France) has provided evidence that no changes occured in the way of life inferred from the menu (Puech P. -F. Usure dentaire, In “La Grotte du Boquete de Zafarraya” Barroso R. and Lumley (de) H. eds, Junta de Andalucia, Consejeria de Cultura, Sevilla.)
A free "pdf" in French, concerning Zafarraya dental microwear, is to be asked to
Pierre Francois Puech,   pfpuech@yahoo.fr
Habilité à Diriger des Recherches Faculté de Medecine "La Timone" lab. anatomy, Marseille, France.

 

 



 

 
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trehinp
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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2009, 03:19:54 AM »

Thanks Jean-François,

André Langaney makes a similar suggestion about population size as a possible reason for the extinction of Neanderthal. A smaller population becomes more vulnerable to inbreeding and all the problems that arise through it.

Then the question is why did Neanderthal population begin to shrink at a certain point?

I can't remember where I read some hypothesis about a possible contamination of Neanderthal by germ carried by Modern human, somewhat like "white men" transmitted "Old World" germs to Native Americans, which caused terrible epidemics among them.

It will probably be very difficult to settle this debate on Neanderthal's disappearing.

Paul
(Almost neighbours... I'm near Nice...)
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Paul Trehin
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