Neanderthals lived from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago, fully modern humans came
along about 120,00 years ago, so they coexisted for about 90 thousand years.
Neanderthals had brains at least as large as modern humans and they made
tools almost as sophisticated, the main difference in culture was that Humans
produced Art and Neanderthals did not. That's probably significant but I
confess I don't quite know what to make of it.
One of the great mysteries was whether there was any interbreeding between
these two groups, it looks like the question has been settled. In today's
issue of Cell Dr. Svante Paabo of the University of Munich reports that he
has discovered mitochondrial DNA in a Neanderthal bone and found no evidence
of any interbreeding with modern humans, no Neanderthals genes in the Human
gene pool. He also found that the 2 groups were not as closely related as
thought, the last common ancestor to Humans and Neanderthals lived between
550 and 690 thousand years ago.
I have a hunch that this may have something to say about Robin Hanson's great
filter, but again I'm not quite sure what. On the one hand a big brain was
produced in 2 independent ways, on the other hand one of those ways did not
work out in the long term.
Speaking of Robin Hanson, I want to congratulate him on his new Ph.D., not
that I'm surprised, I already knew he was smart as hell.
John K Clark email@example.com
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