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The Evolution Of Neanderthals Essay

1612 words - 6 pages

Name 1NAMEUNIVERSITYAncient Peoples of the WorldPROFESSORASSIGMENTIs There Neanderthal in Us?Over the course of human history, an abundant amount of information has been found on the evolution of our species, Homo sapiens. Of those, Neanderthals are a species whose origin has been debated and interpreted in different views. They are an extinct hominid lineage and their role in the evolutionary history of modern humans is a well concern topic (Wang and Farina 2013). One prominent view is that Neanderthals are in fact human, Homo sapiens and are a sub species. The contrary view is that Neanderthals are a complete separate species, Homo neanderthalensis, and humans replaced their population (Wang and Farina 2013). Because both these views are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum, it is very easy to distinguish between the two. Their prominence is important because as humans, having concrete information on our evolution in itself is very important to our future development. That being said, Neanderthals are seen as that link between our beginnings and the modern humans we see today. Ultimately, the resolution of this debate will yield much better focus on putting together the big picture of how modern humans came about and by what means.Roughly 300,000 years ago, the Old World was occupied by a morphologically diverse group of hominids. In North America, Africa and the Middle East there were Homo sapiens; in Asia, Homo erectus; and in Europe, Homo neanderthalensis (Trinkaus and Shipman 1992). By 130,000 years ago, Neanderthals had all become so anatomically distinct that they were classified as a separate species, Homo neanderthalensis. Over time, they became extinct and to date, no definite Neanderthal specimens newer than 25,000 years ago have ever been found (Lewis 2010). In 1999, a skeleton of a child was found in Portugal. After testing it, it was dated to be around 25,000 years old. It was a mix of Neanderthal and modern features, suggesting it may be a hybrid. But, small fragments of Neanderthal DNA extracted from three different specimens show that they were not closely related to any present-day human populations (Wang and Farina 2013).The sudden appearance of modern humans placed Neanderthals in direct competition with our ancestors for resources. Though larger, stronger and faster than our ancestors, Cro-Magnons, Neanderthals were not able to stand up to us. After study to prove that it wasn't a climatic change that eliminated the Neanderthals, we realized that it was in fact competition that resulted in their extinction (Wang and Farina 2013). There has been a great effort by evolutionists in recent history to connect a evolutionary link between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons but none has ever proven it to be fact.Neanderthals are not the ancestors of modern humans; DNA studies have concluded that. The DNA extracted from the ribs of a Neanderthal infant buried in southern Russia 29,000 years ago was found to be too distinct from...

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