Re: Neanderthal speech

Glenn R. Morton (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 21:41:14 -0500

At 03:39 PM 4/28/98 -0700, Jeffrey Lee wrote:
>I recall several years ago that Scientific American published some
>drawings created by an anthropologist/pathologist (whatever the proper
>title is!) showing what a Neandertal would have looked like with flesh
>and muscle (but not tons of hair, the existence of which would be hard to
>prove from a skeleton). Some astute readers then pointed out that the
>picture looked an awful lot like Picasso. All comments regarding his
>artistic ability aside, they were right, it did. So, did Neandertal
>really become extinct? Is he really that much different than us?

The picture you are talking about is the one by Jay Matterns [sic? I didn't
look it up].

A fairsized minority of anthropologists believe that we do have Neanderthal
genes (at least modern Europeans do). The evidence includes a small bump
on the femur and a rare H-O form of the mandibular foramen. These traits
are found on Neanderthals and modern Europeans but almost unknown
elsewhere. The mandibular foramen is the hole through the interior of the
jaw where the nerve goes. This is where the dentist tries to get the
novacaine. The rare H-O foramen was found on Neanderthal about 50% of the
time. Its frequency has decreased in Europe since 40,000 years ago, but it
is the only place where this funny form occurs. today it has a European
frequency of about 1%. It is unknown from Asian or African hominids with
the exception of one fossil Olduvai Hominid 22 which is around 1.5 myr ago.

Also some people claim that neanderthal lived too late to have changed into
modern men. Maybe one day I will finish a post on this topic but I would
state now that the highest rates of morphological change (evolution)
(measured in Darwins) is not between Neanderthals and modern men, but
between modern men and modern men at the time of the agricultural
revolution! Here is the rates of evolution for the maxilla over time:

to early .3 1.0 1.0 1.6 .7 .8 .9
Upper Paleolithic

Late Neanderthals
to early Upper .9 1.1 2.7 4.9 1.5 1.8 2.1

Early to Late
Upper Paleolithic 2.3 .5 2.0 4.1 1.7 1.9 2.1

Mesolithic to
Neolithic 29.8 11.9 25.6 0.0 15.0 10.3 15.4 Fastest
rate of change

Early Upper
Paleolithic to
Neolithic 2.6 1.7 2.4 2.4 1.8 2.1 2.2

(seeDavid W. Frayer, "Perspectives on Neanderthals as Ancestors," in G. A.
Clark and C. M. Willermet, ed., Conceptual Issues in Modern Human Origins
Research, (New York:Aldine De Gruyter, 1997), pp 220-234.)

So, given this, Neanderthal could have interbred and gradually changed into

Adam, Apes and Anthropology
Foundation, Fall and Flood
& lots of creation/evolution information