Blog Six- Neanderthals

In fourth grade if someone called you a Neanderthal, you probably needed some ice for that burn. As I grew up my knowledge of human evolution grew past name-calling and Ice Age the movie. H. neanderthalensis, more commonly known as “Neanderthal”, scavenged, reproduced, and hunted during the last great ice age. Upon studying the remains, are able to conclude that H. neanderthalensis’ physical features such as a large nose can be related back to the harsh ice age climate that they had to endure.

Since the discovery of the Neanderthal species, we have since came to the understanding that there is a definite overlap between Homo sapiens. With this overlap, there is a chance that is increased with both groups living in close proximity, of possible interbreeding. Numerous studies have been conducted in order to see if there is any evidence of the two species successfully reproducing a healthy offspring. Geneticists have reconstructed the entire Neanderthal genome, as stated in our lecture, back in 2010. Other researchers have conducted studies in modern human DNA to see if they can tie specific sequences back to the Neanderthals. From my knowledge, if H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens did reproduce, there might be a tough time producing a healthy offspring. When two close species reproduce, their offspring is limited to three scenarios. The first option is an unsuccessful offspring, dies either in the womb or immediately after birth. Second, is a physically healthy offspring, however the offspring is reproductively sterile. For example, a mule AKA horse-donkey offspring is almost always sterile. Horses have 64 chromosomes while donkeys have 62 leaving the mule with 63. If this were the case with Neanderthals and modern humans, finding evidence of a hybrid will decrease exponentially. The third option is a successful reproduction resulting in a physically healthy offspring capable of reproduction. This happens when chromosomes from mom and dad are able to line up and fuse properly. With the complete Neanderthal genome we currently have and potential access to millions of research participants around the world, we can study the Neanderthal DNA and compare it to modern human DNA. If H. neanderthalensis and H. sapien did reproduce, there might still be evidence circulating around the world.

Neanderthals are giving us an insight into the past and how evolution occurred to mold and form modern day humans. Neanderthal behavior can tell us how they adapted to their harsh environment and how human behavior might have also evolved. There has been evidence found of burials, which we can study to find reasoning behind this behavior. Since Neanderthals did live during the ice age there has been evidence of cannibalism during rough periods of food shortages. We can compare survival cannibalism to the gravesites of other individuals and find reasoning behind these two behaviors and how it might have happened in Homo sapiens. There are endless topics we can study about Neanderthals that can be connected to modern day humans. Since we a so alike, we can use the Neanderthal’s history to learn about our own where there has been no prehistoric evidence.

3 thoughts on “Blog Six- Neanderthals

  1. Good article. I like the way you mentioned fourth-grade things. But in some argument, the researcher believe the Neanderthal are better than the modern human.
    When Neanderthals newly discovered fossils have been restored to become one knee bent, toddler image. Because I think they are obvious characteristics of apes, Irish geologist William King had intended to Neanderthals into a separate genus, though, and finally assigned to a genus Homo sapiens, but still different species.
    After that, people gradually discovered several hundred Neanderthal sites. These ruins show until they eventually disappeared 30,000 years ago, Neanderthals had been living in the harsh climate and environment for up to 20 years. It now appears that Neanderthals was considered to have many uniquely human ability, Neanderthals than humans and the low conventional view has been challenged. Moreover, the new genetic study found that humans and Neanderthals diverged 50 million years ago from a common ancestor about 45,000 years ago, both of which may occur in the Middle East and hybridization.

  2. You made good points in your response. Not only did Homo Neanderthalensis have overlapping similarities with Homo sapiens but also with other early hominins. You made a good point when you talked about the possibilities of there being interbreeding between the two species. I agree with you in that there could be three possible outcomes if the two species did interbreed. Although I do think that there was some success in the breeding between the two. The reason I say this is because there has been research which looked at the DNA of modern humans, and the results brought back the news that within our DNA we carry Neanderthal genes. Which as you stated we have the complete Neanderthal genome. So some kind of successful interbreeding had to of occurred between the two species.

  3. I also wrote about Neanderthal for my post. I did not really think about what might happen if H. Neanderthals and H. sapiens reproduced, so I really appreciate that you give three scenarios to explain interbreeding. I agree with you that study Neanderthal behavior is extremely important to understand their diet and environment at that time, and also how human have evolved. I found two particular behaviors to be very intriguing, that is burring their dead with flowers and tools. This behavior had never ever happened on primates and early humans, so this discovery showed that Neanderthal had compassion and empathy. I think the discovery of Neanderthal gave us a better understanding of human history since I found there were so many similarities between them and us, such as large brains and certain behaviors.

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