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Physicist, Startup Founder, Blogger, Dad

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Svante Paabo: Neanderthal Man


I finally got a copy of Paabo's recent book. See earlier profile in the New Yorker.
Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes

(p.213) ... we estimated that the total number of DNA sequence positions at which Neanderthals differed from all humans living today will be on the order of 100,000. This will represent an essentially complete answer to the question of what makes modern humans "modern," ...

(p.253) [last paragraph of the book!] ... One can imagine putting such changes into cell lines, and into mice [or monkeys] ... in order to "humanize" or "neanderthalize" biochemical pathways or intracellular structures ... One day, we may understand what set the replacement crowd [moderns] apart from their archaic contemporaries, and why, of all the primates, modern humans spread to all corners of the world and reshaped, both intentionally and unintentionally, the environment on a global scale ...
The essential difference between moderns and pre-moderns is likely a qualitative increase in cognitive ability. See Neanderthals dumb?

See also The genetics of humanness, The Neanderthal Problem, and Genetic engineering of monkeys using CRISPR.

11 comments:

chartreuse1737 said...

no interest in the enormous increase in lifespan of humans over chimps?



de Magalh?es JP, Church GM (2007) Analyses of human-chimpanzee orthologous gene pairs to explore evolutionary hypotheses of aging. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development vol 128 pp 355-364

"laziness at doing stupid things is a great virtue."

DK said...

This will represent an essentially complete answer to the question of what makes modern humans "modern,"

Jesus... Really? That it's no more an answer than counting letter frequencies in the "The Old Man and the Sea" vs "Moby-Dick" is an answer to the differences between the two novels.

Iamexpert said...

There's very little evidence that Neanderthals were dumb other than the dumb gene you say they found in one Neanderthal and the fact that Neanderthals had smaller brains when you adjust for their huge muscle mass (larger before adjustments).

When anatomically modern humans first left Africa 100,000 years ago they were technologically inferior to Neanderthals. It was only in the last 45,000 years that AMHs surpassed Neanderthals technologically but that may have been because of anatomical superiority, not cognitive advantage. ATMHs had more efficient body builds (tall and thin) and had the vocal ability to pronounce sounds Neanderthals couldn't such as P-C-A-U. This vocal superiority gave ATMHs the rich language needed for cultural evolution.

chartreuse1737 said...

given that vocab is the most g-loaded and most heritable of the wechsler subtests comparing modern humans who speak and neanderthals who didn't isn't comparing apples and oranges. it's comparing apples and patchouli.

(new site) Economics Institute said...

Filipino people and Eurasians share the most neanderthal DNA and phenotypes among modern humans. Israelis, native Americans, khazars, south Asians, and Japanese have a lot of admixture well. Probably the most pure are northern/eastern Europeans and sub Sahara-Africans http://www.genetics.org/content/early/2013/02/04/genetics.112.148213.full.pdf

(new site) Economics Institute said...

Superior vision crowded out other mental faculties according to new theory http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-21759233

Iamexpert said...

Actually Figure Weights and Arithmetic are the most g loaded subtests on the Wechsler. And I never said Neanderthals had nessecarily lower verbal IQ; only that they were physically unable to pronounce certain sounds.

chartreuse1737 said...

and i never said a basket case was less able to run 100m in less than 11s. i on;y said...

in origin it had a physical meaning. In the grim slang of the British
army during World War I, it referred to a quadruple amputee
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/basket+case

chartreuse1737 said...

steve as son of immigrants hasn't passed through the euopean/hegelian dialectic yet. his optimism is ... precious.

Peter Connor said...

The introversion of Neanderthal genes, many related to intelligence, in homo sapiens seems to have been important in our evolution. And Neanderthals had much different bodies, So these conclusions sound pretty half baked to me.

Kennon Gilson said...

Interesting. Would a Neanderthal in an alley really seem that different?

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