Neanderthals were NOT a sub-species of modern humans

Researchers claim Neanderthals were NOT a sub-species of modern humans


Researchers have identified new evidence supporting the growing belief that Neanderthals were a distinct species separate from modern humans (Homo sapiens), and not a subspecies of modern humans. The study also found that the Neanderthal nasal complex was not adaptively inferior to that of modern humans, and that the Neanderthals' extinction was likely due to competition from modern humans and not an inability of the Neanderthal nose to process a colder and drier climate, as has been previously suggested.

Samuel Márquez, PhD, associate professor and co-discipline director of gross anatomy in SUNY Downstate's Department of Cell Biology, and his team of specialists published their findings on the Neanderthal nasal complex in the November issue of The Anatomical Record .

They argue that studies of the Neanderthal nose, which have spanned over a century and a half, have been approaching this anatomical enigma from the wrong perspective. Previous work has compared Neanderthal nasal dimensions to modern human populations such as the Inuit and modern Europeans, whose nasal complexes are adapted to cold and temperate climates.

However, the current study joins a growing body of evidence that the upper respiratory tracts of this extinct group functioned via a different set of rules as a result of a separate evolutionary history and overall cranial bauplan (bodyplan), resulting in a mosaic of features not found among any population of Homo sapiens. Thus Dr. Márquez and his team of paleoanthropologists, comparative anatomists, and an otolaryngologist have contributed to the understanding of two of the most controversial topics in paleoanthropology -- were Neanderthals a different species from modern humans and which aspects of their cranial morphology evolved as adaptations to cold stress.

"The strategy was to have a comprehensive examination of the nasal region of diverse modern human population groups and then compare the data with the fossil evidence. We used traditional morphometrics, geometric morphometric methodology based on 3D coordinate data, and CT imaging," Dr. Márquez explained.

Neanderthal skull discovered in 1908 at La Chapelle-aux-Saints

Neanderthal skull discovered in 1908 at La Chapelle-aux-Saints ( Wikipedia). The new study found distinctive differences between the Neanderthal and Homo sapiens nasal complex.

Co-author William Lawson, MD, DDS, vice-chair and the Eugen Grabscheid research professor of otolaryngology and director of the Paleorhinology Laboratory of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, notes that the external nasal aperture of the Neanderthals approximates some modern human populations but that their midfacial prognathism (protrusion of the midface) is startlingly different. That difference is one of a number of traits suggesting an evolutionary development distinct from that of modern humans. Dr. Lawson's conclusion is predicated upon nearly four decades of clinical practice, in which he has seen over 7,000 patients representing a rich diversity of human nasal anatomy.

Jeffrey T. Laitman, co-author and Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine and director of the Center for Anatomy and Functional Morphology states that this article is a significant contribution to the question of Neanderthal cold adaptation in the nasal region.

"The strength of this new research lies in its taking the totality of the Neanderthal nasal complex into account, rather than looking at a single feature. By looking at the complete morphological pattern, we can conclude that Neanderthals are our close relatives, but they are not us," said Dr. Laitman.

Ian Tattersall, PhD, emeritus curator of the Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History, an expert on Neanderthal anatomy and functional morphology who did not participate in this study, stated, "Márquez and colleagues have carried out a most provocative and intriguing investigation of a very significant complex in the Neanderthal skull that has all too frequently been overlooked." Dr. Tattersall hopes that "with luck, this research will stimulate future research demonstrating once and for all that Homo neanderthalensis deserves a distinctive identity of its own."

Featured image: Wax model of a Neanderthal. Credit: Erich Ferdinand / flickr


SUNY Downstate Medical Center. "Were Neanderthals a sub-species of modern humans? New research says no." ScienceDaily. 18 November 2014.

Journal Reference :

Samuel Márquez, Anthony S. Pagano, Eric Delson, William Lawson, Jeffrey T. Laitman.  The Nasal Complex of Neanderthals: An Entry Portal to their Place in Human Ancestry . The Anatomical Record, 2014; 297 (11): 2121 DOI: 10.1002/ar.23040

By April Hollowa


Roberto Peron wrote; The last thing any of us want to do is get taken in by yet another hoaxster!

You're a little late, there's enough "political hoaxes" in the W. House, Senate, etc. IMO, .......
Sorry, couldn't resist,............even Bigfoot or an Almas would had been a better choice IMO.

Roberto Peron's picture

Excellent points riparian.  Just to add a bit to what you say, you know many people really have no idea what they see out in the wilds.  The pictures that they see of the perfect deer, perfect bear, etc are typically pictures taken in a zoo with a "wild" background added before publishing.  Most animals are not picture perfect and on top of that many people's idea of getting out into "nature" is only as near as their city park, sadly.  Misidentification is a big problem in this case I think.  Then as if this isn't enough you have the hoaxsters who are out stamping "bigfoot footprints" with their ply wood cut outs in the mud or collecting hair samples from known animals and claiming they are from the creature.  And the list goes on and on.  All this kind of stuff does is blur research and make the existence of the creature not taken seriously especially by anthropologists.  Anthropologists are leary of such things especially when known hoaxsters are involved. Least we not forget Piltdown Man and other hoaxes.  The last thing any of us want to do is get taken in by yet another hoaxster!  

Sadly, our lives are becoming easier and easier as we become more and more dependent on machines to do things for us.  In doing so we sacrifice self reliance, common sense, logical thinking, human interaction, problem solving abilities, etc.  So what happens?  We get lazy, fat, and diseased.  I think sometimes our lives have already become too comfortable and perhaps we should give up a little comfort so we can be more human.


Tipping my cap off to you Ripartanfrstvr, enjoyed your refreshing post especially regarding what you mentioned concerning the new "modern norm" increasingly becoming more dependant to high tech, letting these instruments do all the work and thinking FOR them.
DE-volution at work...

Riparian, you are point on, and as well a very amusing comment!

riparianfrstlvr's picture

all of these comments are as informative as the artcles. i haven't done any research on the subject of bigfoot but have the same feelings as you Roberto about them. and you are right about mistaking a bear for it. crap i have seen bears on our property and when they are startled they are nothing but a black blur streaking through the trees. and what you said about the size of brains seems accurate enough. it does not mean how smart we are but what is needed to know to live. dolphins can't make or use tools, but they have sonar. we don't, using sonar would take brain matter. dolphins can also shut off blood to the body supplying only major organs and the brain, we can't do that. that to would take brain matter. my ancestors, Neanderthals could make and use tools, most people i know can't do that. they would also have to know what food is good and what is bad. many people i know don't know that either. in fact i know people that have lost the ability to grow a tomato plant. i have had people say to me "how do you grow such delicious tomatoes, the ones in the store have no taste!" i just saw a documentary on my forefathers the Neanderthal, i am very proud of that 4% dna. it said almost the exact same thing as you guys. some clans did go extinct, some interbred. but at this site on the coast of the Med. sea , they were cannabalized. times were a lot tougher back then and the climate seemed to be in a state of flux. like mini ice ages coming and going. and the shore line of the Med. sea was further out from the site than today indicating the sea was much lower back then. as far as rape goes i'm sure that happened it happens today. but i feel plain old consentual sex is far more likely for interbreeding the various races. as for me, a beautiful healthy woman is just that and i don't care what color her skin or hair is. these days one can't tell with all of the fakyness going on. people where i live are mostly apethetic and believe God did it all. but some are slowly opening their minds. in a news letter from a local flooring store i patronise there was a blip of an article about Dwaraka off the coast of India,Yonaguni off Japan, Dunwich off England's coast, and the Bimini road, all under about 150 feet of water. every time we scrape away a patch of earth to build a new golf course or shopping mall we find something. a fossil or tip of a pyramid. there are newly discovered super viruses in the Siberian permafrost that could be released to the atmosphere with global warming or oil and gas drilling. what is not known is if our immune systems are capable of dealing with these viruses. our ancestors might have been but i doubt ours are. the other day i was asked by a doctor if i had a flu shot, i said no. he then asked would you like one? i said what for, i have an immune system. one thing is for sure taking all of this stuff i have read here and elsewhere and looking at the people around me, the human race is evolving into a stupid, lazy, obese, immuno-deficient race. with all of the political unrest, climate change and disease there is going to be a big, big, culling of the population. i'm afraid ebola is a micro-cosm of what may come. what is really pathetic is people don't give a shit about where we came from. (because God did it all) all they care about is where they are going to get in line to wait for the next new i-phone.



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