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(forget Darwin) Them and Us: how Neanderthal predation created modern humans begins
Posted: 05 October 2010 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 188 ]
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Thank you for your reply LaMa. Me personally, I don’t see it as cannibilism as I was led to believe Neanderthals and modern human where two totally diffrent species like rabbit and rat that just happens to have a common ancestor. But now recently it is being said that Neanderthal and human could interbreed and have hybrids which would make them the same speices- right? Which is the problem with mainstream docos on History channel. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

common scene makes you quickly realise that life in Ice Age Europe must have been harsh- extremly harsh. So Neanderthal must have made very harsh life choices to survive. When you are cold and starving, I doubt ethics came in to question when a bipedal speices ate another bipedal species.

Yes, when you really think about it, you are right LaMa in the book sterotyping Neanderthals. (they remind me of ORCS from B-grade fantasy games) but what I really admired was what the author was trying to acheive is explain the origin of human desire to form armies and military might and slaughter each other. the Us vs Them mentallity. it all started because we where prey to a- as the book describes it- “wolves with knives.”

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Posted: 06 October 2010 04:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 189 ]
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tonkatough - 05 October 2010 10:52 PM

but what I really admired was what the author was trying to acheive is explain the origin of human desire to form armies and military might and slaughter each other. the Us vs Them mentallity. it all started because we where prey to a- as the book describes it- “wolves with knives.”

That conveniently externalises the cause of the behaviour, effectively shifting the blame on some other poor sap (Neandertals in this case).

Causes for our wars, violence and genocides need to be sought within ourselves. Not blamed on others (= Neandertals). The fact that we have minds that tend to stereotype others and put ourselves on (undeserved) moral pedestals is a reason, the same elements that pop up in this discussion again regarding Neandertals. Our tendency towards opportunism is another factor.

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J. Kruger & D. Dunning (1999), Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol. 77, 1121-1134

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Posted: 06 October 2010 06:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 190 ]
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Not blamed on others (= Neandertals).

Maybe they started. And they taught us what war is about.
je weet het niet he

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Posted: 06 October 2010 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 191 ]
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Unfairly Balanced - 06 October 2010 10:06 AM

Not blamed on others (= Neandertals).

Maybe they started. And they tought us what war is about.
je weet het niet he

Woy yoy yoy.

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Posted: 17 February 2011 12:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 192 ]
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New member here. As to my level of knowledge on the subject… not a lot. My degree is in biochemistry, not paleoanthropology. When I read the themandus website, I was chuggin along fine until he started throwing out the idea that our behaviors are the result of neandertal predation. There’s a lot of levels of biology between DNA and a fully functional idea (DNA>protein>cell>tissue>organ/brain>specific configuration of the brain to produce a thought) like “you should be afraid of X” or “fight Y”. I’m fairly certain you can’t code an idea in a gene. The only other option is that we somehow perfectly translated these fears after a 30000 year game of multi-generational telephone (i.e. chinese whispers, pass the message). Statistically far fetched. I don’t have a single quote that could be attributed to even my great grandparents! 

It is possible to select for the trait of aggression (that can be triggered chemically, not far from the molecular basis of genetics). But you can’t control what form the aggression will take. So the evolutionary message would just be “be angry”, you couldn’t specify to be angry at what.

The only smidge of truth that might be present is the alleged fact of neandertal/human crossbreeding. Supposedly, non-african humans share 1-4% of our DNA with neandertals (that’s differential alleles among people, not total genome). From what I understood, the results of this genomic analysis is still undergoing testing to make sure there was no contamination of any kind. If it’s true, then the book at least got that much right if not much else.

If that is true though, I would imagine it is evidence against the idea of neandertal males raping human females. How would she come to term under the care of a cannibalistic monster? It would seem more likely that the Humans migrating out of africa were given a going away present from neandertals who were heading in the opposite direction in the evolutionary track (them towards extinction, us towards worldwide proliferation).

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Posted: 23 February 2011 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 193 ]
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That Neandertals contributed genes to Homo sapiens is quite certain now. I have a paper in the referee pipeline where I suggest this interbreeding probably happened in the frontier zone of west and central Asia where the initial expansion of early Homo sapiens was stopped 50-80 thousand years ago when it reached the parts of Eurasia where Neandertals were present. There is actually very little evidence (or let me rephrase that: very little uncontested evidence) that Neandertals and Homo sapiens really cohabitated any given area in Eurasia for some time. To me (and this is part of the paper I have in submission), it is becoming more and more clear that H. sapiens only entered Europe for example after Neandertals disappeared there. Not only are there confirmed hiatuses between the last Neandertals and first moderns in several areas of Europe, but there is not a single uncontested (!) case of interstratification: and the strongly contested ones that have been proposed in the past, concern a handful of sites in a small area only. In fact, H. sapiens entry in Europe is conspicuously late compared to their entry in southern Asia and Oceania. The reason is probably, that Neandertals and H. sapiens were so close behaviourally and cognitively, that they could not outcompete each other (quite contrary to some persistent popular ideas, the ones which many professional archaeologists have grown increasingly uncomfortable with over the past decade or so!). This means that interbreeding could occur only on the frontier where their respective biogeographies touched: west and central Asia. And I don’t think you have to think in terms of “rape” at all when it comes to interbreeding. That’s just negative stereotype pitching Neandertals as primitive brutes again. No: I think some H. sapiens girls fancied some Neandertal hunks quite well.

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J. Kruger & D. Dunning (1999), Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol. 77, 1121-1134

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Posted: 23 February 2011 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 194 ]
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By the way, who were these guys using skulls as cups in Britain during the last ice age? Answer: it was Homo sapiens, not Neandertals, and there is evidence they ate each other at Gough’s Cave as well. Now who’s the bloody cannibal again?

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The Kruger-Dunning effect is rampant on internet fora.
J. Kruger & D. Dunning (1999), Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol. 77, 1121-1134

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Posted: 23 February 2011 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 195 ]
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Unfairly Balanced - 06 October 2010 10:06 AM

Not blamed on others (= Neandertals).

Maybe they started. And they taught us what war is about.
je weet het niet he

I am pretty sure the source of war is in ourselves, and does not have an origin in Neandertals. Heck, even chimpanzees go to war (seriously: they do): perhaps they learned it from Neandertals too then?! Surely NOT!

There is not a single reason, nor a shred of evidence, that it was Neandertals who taught it to us. That is just shifting blame for our own darker sides on a scape-goat. The capability to plan a war comes with the posession of Machiavellian Intelligence. Chimpanzees have Machiavellian Intelligence. We have Machiavellian Intelligence. There is no need for Neandertals to have learned us war. The source resides in ourselves. And the same xenophobic H. sapiens mentality that makes some writers paint a very negative stereotyped portrait of “cannibalistic bloodthirsty Neandertals” is one of these.

Putting “Them"and “Us” in opposition with “Us” as the good guys and “Them” as the vile bloodthirsty brutes, as the book we discuss here does, is exactly what is behind the “justification” of many a war and genocide.

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The Kruger-Dunning effect is rampant on internet fora.
J. Kruger & D. Dunning (1999), Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol. 77, 1121-1134

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Posted: 24 February 2011 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 196 ]
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That Neandertals contributed genes to Homo sapiens is quite certain now.

Who brought the beer to see something in the other?

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“By the sweat on our brows, and the strengths of our backs…Gentlemen. Hoist the Colours! And you, madam, I warn you, I know the entire Geneva Convention by heart!”
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Posted: 06 March 2011 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 197 ]
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LaMa - 23 February 2011 12:22 PM

That Neandertals contributed genes to Homo sapiens is quite certain now. I have a paper in the referee pipeline where I suggest this interbreeding probably happened in the frontier zone of west and central Asia where the initial expansion of early Homo sapiens was stopped 50-80 thousand years ago when it reached the parts of Eurasia where Neandertals were present. There is actually very little evidence (or let me rephrase that: very little uncontested evidence) that Neandertals and Homo sapiens really cohabitated any given area in Eurasia for some time. To me (and this is part of the paper I have in submission), it is becoming more and more clear that H. sapiens only entered Europe for example after Neandertals disappeared there. Not only are there confirmed hiatuses between the last Neandertals and first moderns in several areas of Europe, but there is not a single uncontested (!) case of interstratification: and the strongly contested ones that have been proposed in the past, concern a handful of sites in a small area only. In fact, H. sapiens entry in Europe is conspicuously late compared to their entry in southern Asia and Oceania. The reason is probably, that Neandertals and H. sapiens were so close behaviourally and cognitively, that they could not outcompete each other (quite contrary to some persistent popular ideas, the ones which many professional archaeologists have grown increasingly uncomfortable with over the past decade or so!). This means that interbreeding could occur only on the frontier where their respective biogeographies touched: west and central Asia. And I don’t think you have to think in terms of “rape” at all when it comes to interbreeding. That’s just negative stereotype pitching Neandertals as primitive brutes again. No: I think some H. sapiens girls fancied some Neandertal hunks quite well.

Isn’t that what I just implied?

Anywho, I hear there are modern guys that’ll do a sheep. God knows there are enough jokes on the subject. So I doubt that there was any significant taboo against crossbreeding.

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Posted: 27 March 2011 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 198 ]
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Bernardo:

I don’t think that saying a particular book is “far better than the Bible” proves anything at all - after all, the Bible is about 0% accurate historically.

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My dad always said, “be all that you can be”.

I tried it.  Succeeded.  Not terribly impressed with the results so far.

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