The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?  (Read 10706 times)

ROBERT

  • Guest
Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« on: 31/01/2006 15:52:11 »
According to Bill Bryson in his book “a short history of nearly everything” (p551):-
“Neanderthal had brains that were significantly larger than modern people –
 1.8 litres for Neanderthals versus 1.4 for modern people”.

Is this true ?, is Homo-Sapiens microcephalic compared with Neanderthal man ?

« Last Edit: 31/01/2006 16:52:54 by ROBERT »


 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #1 on: 31/01/2006 18:41:30 »
quote:
Originally posted by ROBERT

According to Bill Bryson in his book “a short history of nearly everything” (p551):-
“Neanderthal had brains that were significantly larger than modern people –
 1.8 litres for Neanderthals versus 1.4 for modern people”.

Is this true ?, is Homo-Sapiens microcephalic compared with Neanderthal man ?




I don't know about the exact ratio, but it seems generally accepted these days that  Neanderthals had brains larger than modern homo sapiens.

Ofcourse, what they did with those brains is another matter.  Brains do a lot of work that is of a far less intellectual nature, such as processing sensual information.  I don't know which bits of their brains were bigger than ours, or which bits might have been smaller.
 

Offline chris

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5339
  • Thanked: 65 times
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #2 on: 02/02/2006 17:19:17 »
One should not be misled by sheer brain volume. An elephant, for example, has a brain larger than a human but is probably not more intelligent. In this instance the brain's larger because it has a fairly big animal to represent and control. Admittedly neanderthals were probably closer in stature to us compared with an elephant, but I don't think their brains were quite 1.8L. 1.5L sounds closer to the mark.

Chris

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception"
 - Groucho Marx
 

ROBERT

  • Guest
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #3 on: 02/02/2006 18:40:49 »
I am sure females will concur with you Chris, as they have smaller brains than males.
 However some have a different opinion:-

""Men are simply more intelligent than women:
The study, due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology in November (2005), concluded that men not only have larger brains but also higher IQs, on average by about 5 points, than women....""
http://althouse.blogspot.com/2005/08/men-are-simply-more-intelligent-than.html
« Last Edit: 02/02/2006 18:43:36 by ROBERT »
 

Offline neilep

  • Withdrawnmist
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 20602
  • Thanked: 8 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #4 on: 02/02/2006 19:33:54 »
As Chris said, brain volume is misleading (except in the case of girlies of course !)I am sure neanderthal's brain were larger but that does not mean it was capable of our level of cogency. Despite the size, it just may not have had the ' mechanics ' to achieve todays level of calculating and interpreting contemporary data.

It would be interesting if a neanderthal baby could be cloned and raised to see what kind of mature adult it would become.

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #5 on: 02/02/2006 21:28:40 »
quote:
Originally posted by ROBERT

I am sure females will concur with you Chris, as they have smaller brains than males.
 However some have a different opinion:-

""Men are simply more intelligent than women:
The study, due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology in November (2005), concluded that men not only have larger brains but also higher IQs, on average by about 5 points, than women....""
http://althouse.blogspot.com/2005/08/men-are-simply-more-intelligent-than.html




Everything I had previously heard about seemed to indicate that men had a wider spectrum of IQ than women, but the same average.

The question I have is did the above research adequately represent those men with extremely low IQ, or did it merely look at men with medium to high IQ, and compare them to women with medium to high IQ.  The latter scenario would certainly give the impression that men had higher IQ, but it would be erroneous.
 

ROBERT

  • Guest
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #6 on: 03/02/2006 09:55:11 »
As  Neanderthals were of similar stature to modern humans,  then surely their extra brain matter means that they would have been superior to homo-sapiens in some respect(s).
 If not in cognitive ability then by having superior senses.


As for the battle-of-the-sexes brains question,
 this must be the only occasion where a woman has told a man "size doesn't matter" and meant it. :)
« Last Edit: 03/02/2006 16:26:52 by ROBERT »
 

Offline neilep

  • Withdrawnmist
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 20602
  • Thanked: 8 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #7 on: 03/02/2006 22:03:36 »
I would have expected Neanderthals to have a heightend awareness of their surroundings and increased prominenency in their basic instincts...ie: acquiring food to eat, find shelter for warmth etc...and to obtain shampoo !

I am sure these instincts, being more dominant, may trounce our own basic instincts when it comes to sensitivity.

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
 

Offline ukmicky

  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3011
    • View Profile
    • http://www.space-talk.com/
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #8 on: 03/02/2006 22:21:12 »
But of course neanderthals weren't as dumb as everyone  assumes because there have been a few cases where tools have been found along side the bones of neanderthals which were similar to those found along side Homo-Sapiens.
 


Michael                 HAPPY NEW YEAR
« Last Edit: 03/02/2006 22:21:45 by ukmicky »
 

Offline Ray hinton

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 476
    • View Profile
    • http://uk.geocities.com/rayhinton56@btinternet.com/photopagetan.html
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #9 on: 03/02/2006 22:52:12 »
yes,all this is very interesting,but if neandertals had such big brains,why didnt they invent the car,or gun,then they could have done a drive-by on cromanion,and stopped him becoming the dominant species.

every village has one !
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #10 on: 03/02/2006 23:10:45 »
quote:
Originally posted by Ray hinton

yes,all this is very interesting,but if neandertals had such big brains,why didnt they invent the car,or gun,then they could have done a drive-by on cromanion,and stopped him becoming the dominant species.

every village has one !



Intelligence is not all its cracked up to be.

To be more accurate, our technology does not depend upon the intelligence of the individual, but the cumulative intelligence of the group.

Without understanding how the Neanderthal group behaved, and how the Cro-Magnon group behaved, it is difficult to know how much cumulative intelligence the group could summon up.

All the inventions of modern society are inventions of the society (and its antecedents), and not the inventions of an individual (even when a single individual may be credited with an invention, it can only have happened in the context that was made available to him by the rest of society).
 

Offline Ray hinton

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 476
    • View Profile
    • http://uk.geocities.com/rayhinton56@btinternet.com/photopagetan.html
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #11 on: 03/02/2006 23:50:00 »
looks like the rest of my species went extinct!!!!!!!!!

every village has one !
 

Offline DaveXB

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #12 on: 15/04/2006 05:15:24 »
Neanderthals clearly had larger brains than we do. They were of similar body size to us and there is no evidence to show they had more heightened sences than our own. They were humans, with the same bones and muscles as we have. Their bones and muscles where generally stronger, stouter and larger but they worked the same way.

It is possible that Neanderthals had bigger brains than homo saipen saipens and also had lower intelligence - but this seems very unlikely given how similar we are.

It is sometimes suggested that Neanderthals lacked frontal lobes which we use for reasoning and worring about things. However this suggestion is based on our large foreheads. Just because Neanderthals had different faces, this is no reason to think they didn't have frontal lobles behind their sloped foreheads. If anything their ability to last for so long in even harsh climates indicates how well they were able to plan ahead.

Neanderthals survied for a long time. Much of this time was during ice ages but they also survied between several ice ages. Clearly they were good at adapting their behaviour to the environment. This long history of adaption by Neanderthals seems to be over looked for no valid reason.

We now know that Neanderthals could make all the same noises that we can and thus we have to assume they had complex languages like we do.

Neanderthals made medicine, music, carved symbols and buried their dead with tools for the after world. Neanderthals were better at looking after the sick and injured and some studies show they seem to have lived longer than we did.

It is generally accepted that things like art and culture were more common in homo saipens than Neanderthals. However Neanderthals developed more art and culture as time went on. Possibily their contact with homo saipens sparked or encouraged these practices. If so, then is shows that Neanderthals were also willing to learn and adapt to new ideas, which have little relation to obtaining food.

The idea that we had better collective intelligence is an interesting thought - but where is the evidence? The Neanderthals lived mostly on meat (80%) whereas we lived mostly on plants (70%). In addition Neanderthals specilised on hunting big game at close quarters. This kind of collective hunting requires much more use of collective intelligence than collecting plants. If collective intelligence was a factor, then surely it is most likely that Neanderthals were better at this than homo saipens.

We seem to be clinging to the idea that we are the most intillegent huminiods even when the evidence points against this. This seems to be based on what we want to believe, rather than an objective look at the evidence.

In summary the evidence mainly indicates that Neanderthals were more intelligent than we were. It is possible that we were more intelligent but this seems to be considerbly less likely.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #13 on: 15/04/2006 11:48:58 »
I think people can get somewhat hung up about intelligence, without there being any clear definition of what intelligence is.

I think it is demonstrably the case that modern humans are the most inventive species ever to have existed on the planet.  Whether one equates inventiveness with intelligence, I shall leave up to you to decide.

As for Neanderthals being able to make all the sounds that modern humans could make, I had heard otherwise.  My understanding is that Neanderthals could communicate vocally (but then, to a greater or lesser extent, so can most animals), and certainly Neanderthals could express a wider range of sounds than most animals (although we all know that parrots are very good at creating all the sounds that humans can produce), but that their voices would probably have been higher pitched than modern humans (based upon the stiffness of some of the bones in the throat).

Although I accept that carnivores are generally more intelligent than herbivores – although, more accurately, hunters are more intelligent than grazers; but then elephants are considered very intelligent, and they certainly are not hunters; nor are modern humans (even those that might be pure vegetarian) strictly speaking grazers, since they often hunt roots and other difficult to find parts of plants.  Beyond that, both Neanderthals and modern humans are omnivores, and I think the discussion between 30/70 or 70/30 is rather academic, since in either case, they still require the skills for both.

What has often been postulated is:

a) modern almost humans are unique amongst primates if eating fish, and generally adding the domain of water to their list of available resources.

b) modern humans had wider ranges over which they travelled, and thus required larger mental maps, than did Neanderthals.



George
 

Offline daveshorts

  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2583
  • Physics, Experiments
    • View Profile
    • http://www.chaosscience.org.uk
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #14 on: 15/04/2006 21:09:05 »
I will add my own unsupported suppositions:

Neanderthals were adapted to very cold conditions, where food was very scarse so their population density was probably extreemly low. Modern humans  were adapted for warmer conditions so adapted to higher population densities. This may have meant that Neanderthals worked in smaller groups than the modern humans, who probably developed better political skills because of it.

The neanderthals could have been exceedingly good at what they did - living in small groups mostly off meat, but humans in larger groups supported by more vegetables, would have been able to push them into the more and more marginal areas...

Also being in bigger groups is probably better for the disemination of information, and new techniques... Although I am not sure if the technology development was rapid enough for this to be an issue.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #15 on: 16/04/2006 01:23:52 »
quote:
Originally posted by daveshorts

I will add my own unsupported suppositions:

Neanderthals were adapted to very cold conditions, where food was very scarse so their population density was probably extreemly low. Modern humans  were adapted for warmer conditions so adapted to higher population densities. This may have meant that Neanderthals worked in smaller groups than the modern humans, who probably developed better political skills because of it.

The neanderthals could have been exceedingly good at what they did - living in small groups mostly off meat, but humans in larger groups supported by more vegetables, would have been able to push them into the more and more marginal areas...

Also being in bigger groups is probably better for the disemination of information, and new techniques... Although I am not sure if the technology development was rapid enough for this to be an issue.



There was an overlap of about 100,000 years when both Neanderthal and Homo sapiens  co-existed.  Over that time period, both groups advanced technically, but there is no evidence that Homo sapiens  actually outstripped Neanderthal until well after the demise of Neanderthal.

Certainly, I do think it likely that Homo Sapiens developed better political skills, but not necessarily because they lived in larger villages, but because they developed better social structures across several villages.

Beyond that, Homo sapiens were  lighter and faster than Neanderthals, so could probably develop better hit and run tactics.

Also, if Homo sapiens benefited from increasing global temperatures, then there would be another factor that would benefit them, that those rising temperatures would have come with rising sea levels, and Homo sapiens were more comfortable in using water than were Neanderthals.





George
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Is Homo-Sapiens a microcephalic Neanderthal ?
« Reply #15 on: 16/04/2006 01:23:52 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
 
Login
Login with username, password and session length