More human-Neandertal mixing evidence uncovered

Nov 09, 2006
Petera skull
The early modern human cranium from the Petera Muierii, Romania. Photo courtesy Muzeul Olteniei / Erik Trinkaus

A re-examination of ancient human bones from Romania reveals more evidence that humans and Neandertals interbred.

Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues radiocarbon dated and analyzed the shapes of human bones from Romania's Pestera Muierii (Cave of the Old Woman). The fossils, which were discovered in 1952, add to the small number of early modern human remains from Europe known to be more than 28,000 years old.

Results were published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The team found that the fossils were 30,000 years old and principally have the diagnostic skeletal features of modern humans. They also found that the remains had other features known among potential ancestors, primarily among the preceding Neandertals, providing more evidence that there was mixing of humans and Neandertals as modern humans dispersed across Europe about 35,000 years ago.

Their analysis of one skeleton's shoulder blade also shows that these humans did not have the full set of anatomical adaptations for throwing projectiles, like spears, during hunting.

The team says that the mixture of human and Neandertal features indicates that there was a complicated reproductive scenario as humans and Neandertals mixed, and that the hypothesis that the Neandertals were simply replaced should be abandoned.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis, By Neil Schoenherr

Explore further: Everglades trail surveyed for cultural artifacts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dating encounters between modern humans and Neandertals

Oct 04, 2012

To discover why Neandertals are most closely related to people outside Africa, Harvard and Max Planck Institute scientists have estimated the date when Neandertals and modern Europeans last shared ancestors. The research, ...

Early humans won at running; Neandertals won at walking

Feb 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research has compared the performance of the heels of modern-day distance runners to the heels of Neandertals and ancient Homo sapiens. The results show the Neandertals' heels were taller ...

Recommended for you

Jerusalem stone may answer Jewish revolt questions

38 minutes ago

Israeli archaeologists said Tuesday they have discovered a large stone with Latin engravings that lends credence to the theory that the reason Jews revolted against Roman rule nearly 2,000 ago was because ...

Kung fu stegosaur

1 hour ago

Stegosaurs might be portrayed as lumbering plant eaters, but they were lethal fighters when necessary, according to paleontologists who have uncovered new evidence of a casualty of stegosaurian combat. The ...

Digging for Britain's real-life war horses

4 hours ago

Archaeologists from the University of Bristol have teamed up with school children, veterans of modern conflict and other volunteers to uncover the history of Britain's real-life war horses.

User comments : 0