Neanderthals, man’s closest relatives have excited many scientists for decades. In the past there have been many hypothesis and myths about Neanderthals by virtue of which, they have been portrayed as barbaric hominins that lacked culture. However, recent reports suggest Neanderthals were culturally sophisticated hominins that interbred with humans outside Africa. Here, I attempt to congregate scientific papers that debunk the myths about Neandethals. This is a work in progress and any additional articles about Neanderthals from the readers is highly appreciated.
- Brain Development between humans and Neanderthals differs in the sense that although Neanderthals had brain sizes comparable to modern humans, their brain cases were elongated and not globular. Also Gunz et al (referenced above) cite papers suggesting that many morphological characteristics differentiating these two groups are already established during birth; thus, these the hominin taxa must have acquired larger brain size independently from different pathways.
- Neanderthals living 49,000 years ago may have abided in small clans banded together by their male kin.Neandertal groups not only were small and characterized by low genetic diversity but also were likely to have practiced patrilocal mating behavior.
- Neanderthals made use of the diverse plant foods available in their local environment and transformed them into more easily digestible foodstuffs in part through cooking them, suggesting an overall sophistication in Neanderthal dietary regimes.
- Neanderthals and non-African humans interbred (Ref: Paabo paper)
Listen to NPR podcast on Neanderthals vs. Humans (7:35 onwards in the podcast) that discusses human brain development.