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How Did Science Get Neanderthals So Wrong?

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Archeology / Paleontology   |   Biology   |   Society / Culture   |   Science   |   Social Science  
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New neanderthal research adds to the changing image of these early hominids, and they’re not at all what we thought.

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The Myth Of the Traumatized Neanderthal
“Almost every reasonably complete Neanderthal skeleton that was found during the subsequent century had at least one sign of physical trauma. Some researchers attributed these lesions to fights, others to attacks by predators. But whatever the precise reason, scientists collectively inferred that Neanderthals must have lived short, stressful, and harsh lives.”

A new study further undermines the myth of the “savage” Neanderthal
“But there’s a new paper out in Nature from researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany containing evidence that dispels the notion that Neanderthals were big into skull cracking. The study compared 295 Neanderthal skull pieces, from individuals who lived between 20,000 and 80,000 years ago, to 541 contemporaneous humans (i.e. people like you and me) living in Eurasia. And lo and behold, both groups had roughly the same amount of head trauma.”

Similar cranial trauma prevalence among Neanderthals and Upper Palaeolithic modern humans
“Neanderthals are commonly depicted as robust hominins who led stressful, dangerous lives. Traumatic injuries, considered to be common among remains of adult Neanderthals,, are a major piece of evidence supporting this hypothesis: not only are Neanderthals pro-posed to suffer from a high prevalence of trauma, but they are also thought to exhibit more traumatic injuries than early modern humans.”


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