Was Neanderthal Man Our Ancestor?

A scientific version says that homo sapiens originated from Neanderthal man

The world scientific press has been recently inundated with a lot of publications about new hypotheses concerning the origin of a human being. The central question of them all is the extent of our relation with Neanderthal man. Scientists of the whole world have been truing to answer this question since the day the first Neanderthal man was found in 1856 in Germany (on the Neanderthal plain, not far from Dusseldorf). Neanderthal man’s resemblance to homo sapiens made people ascribe horrible vices to the creature. At times, the word combination a Neanderthal man is used to bring someone down.

Russian leading anthropologist, doctor of historic sciences, Alexander Zubov, from the Institute of anthropology and ethnology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, set out various versions to explain the origin of a Neanderthal man and a homo sapiens. The most popular version in the scientific world says that about 800 thousand years ago our ancestors left Africa, crossed the Pyrenees and settled on the European continent. It was the ice age, which made people live in caves. Such people - Neanderthal men – reigned in Europe for hundreds of thousands of years.

Another descendant of our ancestors, homo sapiens, left Africa too, albeit about 40 thousand years ago, crossed Bosporus and Dardanelles, and made their way to Europe. The two different kind of ancient people failed to find a common language and set up friendly relations. They lived in one and the same ecological niche, and had rather tough competition with each other. Scientists rejected the theory, which said that a Neanderthal man was something in between a pithecanthropus and homo sapiens. As it is believed now, a Neanderthal man is a dead-end of the evolution, which does not have anything to do with our own pedigree.

A lot of anthropologists from universities in California, Oxford, Stanford say that a Neanderthal man was not that wild. Neanderthal people took care of their relatives, they decorated their relatives’ graves with tombstones. A Neanderthal man looked after sick people, he could make fire and keep it, he was aware of collective methods of hunting. He did not build houses, and did not cultivate land either. There have been about 60 various tools found to prove that Neanderthal men’s hands were developed very well. They could bring their fingertips together too, which proves that Neanderthal men could do something very neatly and carefully. Those ancient people could not speak, although their brain was bigger in comparison with the one of their ancestors.

Neanderthal man was destined to become extinct in the competition with homo sapiens. Japanese researchers managed to discover that intellect was the major factor for a human being to survive under primeval conditions. Yet, scientist are preoccupied with another question – could Neanderthal and modern people acquire common descendants? There are oppositepoints of view regarding this question now: love always cases disputes, whether it goes about a romantic student or an ignorant Neanderthal man.

American and German scientists decided to reconstruct the DNA of an ancient person. There can not be enough genetic material found in ancient bones, that is why the genetic description was retrieved on the base of the genome of a modern man. The female genealogical tree was based on the female DNA, while the male genealogical tree was built on the male Y- chromosome. The scrupulous work eventually resulted in the retrieval of the genealogical tree of a woman, who lived 150 thousand years ago. The male part was a lot smaller – 80 thousand years ago.

This does not at all mean that Eve was born earlier that Adam. It just means that a female genome is a lot firmer. Scientists came to conclusion that the female line of both Neanderthal and modern people differed considerably, although the situation was totally different with the male line. In other words, there is no guarantee that there was no Neanderthal man amid our male ancestors. On the other hand, one may not say that there was such an ancestor.

This indefinite situation made several scientists set forth a horrible hypothesis: in her quest of a real man, progenitress Eve copulated with sturdy and silent Neanderthal men. However, Stanford-based Richard Klein came to conclusion on the ground of his DNA mitochondrion analysis: homo sapiens and Neanderthal men had a common ancestor, although there were no reasons to believe that the two species interbred with each other 45 thousand years ago, when they met.

Professor Alexander Zubov made a correction about it: it was possible for them to interbreed, but their children were destined to be infertile. There can be a lot of such examples found in the world today: a horse and an ass can have a baby, although such a baby will never be able to give birth to a second generation. Intermediate remnants of 36 thousand years old, which were found in Germany, substantiate this version.

By the way, it was also determined that up-to-date inhabitants of Tanzania and South Africa are our ancestors’ closest relatives. The genetic research helped to determine that a certain part of our ancestors resettled to Europe via the Middle East, ousting Neanderthal people on their way. Others traveled to South-Eastern Asia and reached the continent of Australia (people started settling Australia 60 thousand years ago).

The last Neanderthal man of 29 thousand years was found in the Pyrenees. The creature is 180 cm high, it weighed up to 100 kilos. Yet, the physical power virtually killed Neanderthal men: homo sapiens had to fight them in groups. Weaker men turned out to be smarter, which helped them to survive the evolution. Eve made the right choice.

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Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name: Editorial Team