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I have great respect for Svante Pääbo for all the brilliant work he’s done on ancient DNA, even ranking him as the 47th most influential living human of all time. By sequencing the DNA of Neanderthals and comparing it with our own, Pääbo hopes to discover whatever small genetic changes occurred in the final stages of evolution that allowed modern humans to dominate the globe in ways Neanderthals never did. Studying the difference between Neanderthals and modern humans is especially focused because we separated from them only several hundred thousand years ago, unlike chimps who we separated from several million years ago.
The differences between Neanderthals and modern humans could seem huge to most people. When you look historically at how sub-Saharan Africans were considered subhuman, and they separated from non-Africans merely tens of thousands of years ago, imagine how stigmatized Neanderthals would have been.
Genetically the difference between Neanderthals and modern humans is about ten times greater than the difference between blacks and whites, but about ten times smaller than the difference between modern humans and chimps. I wonder what a racist white slave master would have thought if a Neanderthal had walked on to his plantation. Would he instantly recognize from appearance that his black slave was far more related to him than the Neanderthal since the former two both share similar height, build, cranium shape and faces, or would he have felt a greater kinship with Neanderthals because they both have white skin?
Pääbo argues that the genetic differences between modern humans and Neanderthals may explain why modern humans went to the moon while Neanderthals were confined to the cave.
However a woman in the audience at his talk makes the exact same point I would make if I’m ever lucky enough to attend one of Pääbo’s talks: Almost all the truly revolutionary achievements of modern humans were made after Neanderthals went extinct 40,000 years ago. Before 40,0000 years ago, our species wasn’t even making representational art, let alone computers and rockets.
So why does Pääbo (like Steve Hsu) assume we’re much smarter (or at least better at sharing knowledge), when Neanderthals (almost) kept up with us when they were alive? The woman states that if Neanderthals had been the surviving species, maybe they’d be building satellites today.
Pääbo replied by saying that Neanderthals had three or four hundred thousand years to do it but didn’t, while modern humans had a hundred thousand years or even less yet actually did it.
See the 1:03:09 mark of the below video:
What are you talking about Pääbo?????!!!!!
According to Wikipedia (as of March 21, 2018), Neanderthals existed from 250 kya to 40 kya, while Homo sapiens existed from 300 kya to today. By my math, that means Neanderthals had only 210,000 years to create advanced culture while we’ve had 300,000 years.
Maybe Wikipedia is wildly wrong, as these numbers can vary a lot based on how you classify and date fossils, but why does Pääbo think our species (or whatever term he prefers) is only 100,000 years old? Perhaps like Richard Klein and Noam Chomsky, he thinks there’s a big genetic difference between behaviorally modern humans and the merely anatomically modern ones who preceded them?
But if you define the start of our species (a term Pääbo strongly avoids) as the moment our culture accelerated, then by definition we’re going to look like fast learners. It would be like me staring confused at an exam for 3 hours, and in the last 4 minutes, I suddenly understand and answer all 10 questions at once. Did I suddenly get smart in the last 4 minutes, or did the hours of thought preceding it just make my last 4 minutes seem especially smart? The Neanderthals never got their last 4 minutes because they went extinct, so we don’t know if they would have been late bloomers just like we were.
The Philosopher said:
In my opinion, Neantherthals show in the archaeology we’ve found a remarkably similar IQ level to southern europeans.
The Philosopher said:
Pumpkin how do we know southern europeans aren’t actually just neanderthals with more hair?
Anon Regular said:
Tne “3 minutes” analogy requires that there is a way of accumulating “capital” during the preceding “3 hours” – either through transmitting information across generations or having some evolutionary mechanism slowly building toward a tipping point of enough general intelligence in circulation to cause a shift in culture and technology.
Is that how you see such a phenomenon playing out?
I think we became advanced before Neanderthals as shown in the blombos cave and pinnacle point. But the Indonesian volcanic eruption 72, 000 years ago could have wiped out most of the AMH/BUM humans. Neanderthals would not have been affected by it as most of them were in Europe. This could have slowed down our achievements compared to those of the Neanderthals. until 40, 000 years ago. And after they went extinct at that time we may have integrated their technologies with ours and this could have sped up everything of ours.
I meant BHM
We were a bit more advanced than them but they showed signs of symbolic behavior too. The biggest difference is we had projectile weapons, the bow and error, and sewing needles, but projectiles were not really useful for the kind of forest hunting Neanderthals did and they made glue long before we did which is extremely complex.
I think its possible they came across glue in nature places where they were and reverse engineered it.
But even reverse engineering it might be very tough cause you have to get the temperature just right
It’s just speculation on my part though
How complex is it to make glue? Is that something that takes a high IQ or chemistry expertise?
Richard Klein said making pitch was as complex as anything modern humans did more than 50 kya.
Here’s a video explaining the complexity:
Advanced/behaviorally modern practices by homo sapiens in Africa did not stop in 72,000 bc,(and modern humans never became less advanced/behind neanderthals in the period afterward) but rather continued to be somewhat more advanced up to the the ca 40 ka paleolithic period (though there were sometimes variations and fluctuations/changes in the frequencies of certain particular practices over the period); moderns generally continued to advance, or to engage in certain advanced practices in (different parts of) Africa leading up the the ca. 50-40 ka ago period (and of course later). Some examples being: the continued use of microliths and other projectiles in some regions including Southern Africa sites (and the creation of symbolic and decorative objects, like the ground shell beads at Enkapune Ya Muto Kenya ca. 40,000 bc); bone harpoons were used for fishing deep water species—which also suggests the use of rafts/watercraft—by semi-sedentary cultures in large areas of Central and East Africa in the Paleolithic (starting with cultures like Katanda ca. 90,000 bc, and into later periods later at sites like Ishango ca. 25,000 bc-7,000 ka). Evidence of arrows and bone needles continues into the 60,000s bc at Sibudu South Africa. Weapons like bows and atlatls were widespread in Africa through th paleolithic. The first projectiles (created by early modern humans/early sapiens)—the somewhat more simple, but then innovative, javelin—(and projectiles were not created by neanderthals or other non-sapiens hominids)—, are found in Gademotta Ethiopia by ca. 279,000 bc.). The oldest surviving paintings in Africa are the ca. 23,000 bc ones at Apollo 11 i S.A, but the environment of Africa is less conducive to the preservation of cave paintings than that of Europe (and older specimens may have not survived or have yet to be found), and compound heat treated paints are known from at least 100,000 bc from Blombos which would likely have been used to paint rocks/cave and/or other objects (and, of course, art, representational and otherwise, is known from Africa and everywhere else homo sapiens have lived.)
The LSA/late stone age—equivalent of the European Upper Paleolithic— technological package evolved in Africa in places like South Africa, e.g. at Border cave ca. 55 ka. bc, where hunting practices like those of the Bushman were used, including evidence of poisons—some elements of it having already begun earlier at sites like Pinnacle Point and Blombos, and elsewhere in Africa—and behavioral modernity, as you mentioned had began significantly earlier) no later (somewhat earlier) than the Upper Paleolithic in Europe. So Neanderthal contact was not the cause of that development (which, as mentioned, happened in Africa, ). generally speaking though population density, I would agree, likely did have an influence on the evolution and the maintenance of greater technological sophistication (and densities for neanderthals tended to be significantly lower than those of sapiens).
Our achievements (in Africa, and later in Eurasia) were not slowed compared to those of neanderthals at that time—there’s not evidence of that—. We (modern humans) continued to be somewhat more advanced overall relative to neanderthals—though the gap between us and neanderthals may not have been as wide in all respects as believed; and some believe that certain/at least some advanced practices usually attributed only to sapiens, may have been—at least in some form—shared by neanderthals and inherited from our shared/common African ancestor homo heidelbergensis. e.g Neanderthals likely were also capable, as we were, of some form of symbolic thought, though to what degree they were is still not well understood); the technological level/achievements of African moderns in the relevant periods
(the periods after 72 ka bc-40 ka (as well as quite sometime before 72 ka in certain respects) were generally speaking ahead of those of neanderthals, if anything.
In the earlier histories of both species, both possessed similar “mousterian” toolkits based in part on the use of scrapers and hafted levallois points.
It is likely though that natural disasters/changing environmental conditions in Africa may have influenced levels of prosperity and cultural complexity to vary somewhat over the relevant period (with some periods and regions more conducive/variably so to advanced practices and developments than others). Toba could have been one such contributor, but its actual influence on the overall human population is debated (and in some regions, modern humans may have been little affected.
HOW THE HE’LL do you know so much? Who are your favorite authors/texts?
It does seem that population density (other than latitude) was the major driver of human technological complexity. Humans had that over Neanderthals.
Advanced tech came from Thal genetic legacy, steam engine style, rocket ships, Werner Von Braun had a lot of Thal in him.
Thals were genocided because they were competitors to the melonheads, e.g. Larry King, Oprah’s lineage of the hidden ruling caste of mass hypnotists of the slave masses.
The genocide of Thal DNA continues today in Europe through immigration from no-Thal Africa.
It’s hard to progress when you’re being genocided.
Otherwise Thals would have got their first. Their brains were larger and they were brilliant builders of tooltech.
“Thals” were cognitively inferior, the totality of evidence suggests so.
Nah, that’s a variation on winners tell you the story of history. Thals were different and only inferior in lying and ganging up for genocide.
The evidence is massaged by the melonhead rulers at all times so there is a bias, like a racial bias against Thals.
Their brains were bigger and their tools were better. The most advanced peoples for tools and society are Europeans and Asians, both of which have high Thal %
No, our brains were bigger and they stole our technology, yet still were not able to make anything as complex as cro magnon.
Svante Paabo has the most umlauts in his name outside of an obscure heavy metal band.