Marlon asked in Social ScienceAnthropology · 10 months ago

I need help responding to her comment. Do I agree or disagree. I will say a disagree with her but I need more details. Please Help.?

The social groups Neanderthals might have had were hunter gathers but in groups that consisted mostly of just family members that were not only adults but also children. Neanderthals were able to speak to one another due to hyoid bone and larynx so their social life was probably more interesting as well as complex, the proof is in their tools. Also Neanderthals had burial traditions that they did when someone died; Neanderthals also made pieces of art making them not so different than us, Homo sapiens.

I need help responding  to her comment. Do I agree or disagree. I will say a disagree with her but I need more details. Please Help. 

2 Answers

  • 10 months ago

    She would be correct. In fact, DNA testing shows that the northern populations have Neanderthal DNA.

    We were taught that the mighty Homo sapiens killed them off. The reality is more likely that they were assimilated into the population. Studies are showing they were more intelligent and stronger.

  • Anonymous
    10 months ago

    The position of the hyoid bone is not preserved in fossils, since the hyoid bone is not attached to any other bone in the body. Therefore we cannot determine whether Neanderthals could speak or not based on speculation of the position of their hyoid bone.  There are scientists who try to figure out whether Neanderthals could speak or not by looking for evidence of handedness (whether they use one hand more than the other hand). Humans have the left brain control speech, and we are predominantly right handed. Humans who have the right brain controlling speech are left handed. Animals incapable of speech do not prefer one hand over the other hand. There is some evidence that some tools used by Neanderthals show marks that suggest they prefer the right hand, just like modern humans. If Neanderthals can speak, that probably means that H. erectus can speak as well, as it seems unlikely that speech could have evolved independently in both modern humans and Neanderthals, since we last shared an ancestor with them 500,000 years ago, and modern humans only evolved 200,000  years ago.

    Neanderthals are quite different from us. They have heavier brow ridges and protruding jaw lines, just like H. erectus. Human faces are flatter, and our brains are larger.  Whatever similarities we have with them are either due to inheritance from our common ancestor H. erectus or convergent evolution. Neanderthals are adapted to a cold climate in Europe, so they evolved some features also seen in cold adapted humans (e.g. body proportions), except for their nose, which is not tall and narrow, but pretty wide. 

    As for social behavior, our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, is also very social and they live in groups of multiple males, just like modern human hunter gatherers. Because there is very little to eat in the African savanna, our ancestors have been hunter gatherers for millions of years, going back to australopithecines. Therefore Neanderthals probably inherited their social structure from H. erectus, just as we do. Heck, even chimps hunt lower primates and monkeys for food to supplement their diet, and they have more fruits and plants to eat than our ancestors who lived in the open savanna. Being hunter gatherers therefore is no big deal and does not mean that Neanderthals are any more like us than other hominids. In fact, Neanderthal hunting methods are quite different from ours. We throw spears at animals from a distance, but Neanderthals use their larger heavier spears to stab animals at close range. Many Neanderthal fossils show signs of injuries from such encounters.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.