The Similarities Between Neanderthals And Upper Palaeolithic People.

1015 words - 4 pages

The similarities between Neanderthals and Upper Palaeolithic people."Neanderthalers were more primitive than we are (in some ways), they did live in cold climates (at times), they wore skins (often) and they lived in caves (much of the time). That is the way they were first pictured to us and that is the way they are remembered. Today nearly the reverse is true: Neanderthal man is accepted as our most immediate ancestor, and, by comparison with more distant ones, regarded as a model of evolutionary refinement." (Howell 1966:123). There is no doubt in my mind that Neanderthals and Upper Palaeolithic people were more alike than different. Of coarse there are some differences but "Neanderthal man's and modern man's ranges of variation overlap" (Howell 1966:124).When one look at a Neanderthals appearance compared to modern humans we see allot of similarities. Neanderthals were shorter and had a more stocky build; they had a large cranial capacity, large brow ridges, low forehead, wide ribcage, wide pelvis and were very strong. "Estimates of body size in male and female Neanderthals and early modern Homo sapiens show that the femoral length and relationship in structure and body weight are present. Like all estimates of body weight in fossil samples there is much room for error, but it is clear that the high level of body size dimorphism characteristics of early Australopithecus has disappeared." (Steele and Shennan: 1996). Neanderthals had similar jaws to Upper Palaeolithic people, "When muscles at the base and side of the skull work on the rear of the lower jaw, especially in skulls were the braincase is large as it is in Neanderthal and modern humans, the front of the jaw is put under constant pressure and needs to be reinforced." (Stringer and Gamble: 1996). There skulls and brains were a little bigger than ours but that could be because of the colder climate and higher latitudes. The growth pattern of Neanderthals and Upper palaeolithic people are believed to be similar, "but was the human growth pattern developed soon after after the evolutionary split from the African apes or was it more gradual or late in its appearance? Whatever the answer we might expect the Neanderthals to be quite similar to modern people in their developmental pattern, since they are clearly closely related to us, and are late on the evolutionary timescale."(Stringer and Gamble: 1996)."The differences between Neanderthals and modern humans were in the dimensions of their face and teeth, and that this reduction in size of the face and teeth that occurred over time could be explained as the by-product of cultural evolution. As specialized tools replaced the use of teeth for various tasks, for instance, the size of teeth and facial dimensions would eventually be reduced. In essence, Brace suggested that for humans, culture was more important than biology in determining the direction of evolutionary change. Later, Brace argued that not only was culture the human "ecological...

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