Re: How similar did Neandertals look to us?

Phillip Bigelow (
Fri, 13 Jan 1995 01:24:08 GMT (Jim Foley) writes:

> Straus and Cave (1957) made a striking comment about Neandertals:
> "Notwithstanding, if he could be reincarnated and placed in a New
> York subway - provided that he were bathed, shaved, and dressed in
> modern clothing - it is doubtful whether he would attract any more
> attention than some of its other denizens".

>Now, I would have thought, given their receding chins and forehead,
>protruding mid-facial section, and generally heavier bone structure,
>that Gish's statement about Neandertals was almost surely wrong, and
>that a Neandertal would look decidedly odd by our standards. However to
>my embarrassment, Johanson and Edey, about page 20 in "Lucy", make a
>statement that essentially agrees with Gish.

I'll have to dredge up the refs. on this, but I recall that if only the
frontal-parietal area on Neandertals and modern humans is compared, the
Neandertal "brow-ridge" and skull cap is only slightly outside of the
variation seen in modern Homo sapiens sapiens. In fact, all modern
"flavors" of Homo sapiens sapiens have certain individuals in the population
that have sloped foreheads and even small brow ridges. Likewise, a few modern
humans have protruding lower jaws. This does _not_ necessarily mean that
Neandertals are variants of Cro Magnon; but it does suggest that if
Neandertals are a distinct species, they were quite close to our species.
Back on the topic of kook science: Again, I will have to find the ref.
on this, but someone published a few papers (articles??) a while back on the
possiblity of Neanderthal-Cro Magnon interbreeding. This article is not
fringe science; HOWEVER... some "researcher" picked up on the idea, and
made the claim that modern humans of a certain northern European
nationality are descendents of this interbreeding. The psuedo-scientist
made note of the fact that, in certain isolated parts of Europe, Neandertals
persisted as recently as 30,000 ya, while the larger population of
Neandertals had gradually gone exinct in the rest of Europe. The remaining
populations of Neandertals mixed with the newly-arrived Cro Magnon invaders
to, supposadly, give rise to the paricular nationality. (I refrained from
mentioning the nationality because it would be in bad taste). I recall this
rubbish caught the attention of the popular press for a couple years.
If anyone knows the reference(s) I am talking about, could they post
them? I am not sure if I can (or want to) find them.