Differences And Similarities Between Neanderthals And Us
It has been discovered that the Neanderthal babies had the brain similar to us when we were infants, but that the differences started to appear after the age of one. The discovery is very useful, as it could provide information about the way in which our ancestors used to think, and about the way in which the brain evolved over the course of time.
It has been discovered that the brain size of the Neanderthals is very similar to our brain size, and this means that they might have had the same mental capabilities as we do now. Of course, it is also known that the size of the brain does not dictate ones intelligence. However, the shape of their brains was not similar to ours, as our brains are more globular then theirs were, and were not that elongated. It seems that this elongated shape was common back then, as it could be seen in the case of the chimpanzees or of other primates as well. The researchers created virtual imprints of 11 Neanderthal brains in order to see the way in which they evolved. They created the imprints of a baby Neanderthal as well, and they created the model based on the skulls which have been discovered by the archaeologists in time.
They have discovered that the brains of the newborns were the same both in the case of the humans and of the Neanderthals as well. They had a similar size and shape, and it is believed that the reason for that is to be able to pass through the birth canal with ease. After the birth, the shape and the size of the brains began to change, the brains of the humans having a more globular shape. Philipp Gunz, who is a paleoanthropologist at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology located in Leipzig, Germany, said that he was very surprise when he heard about the difference, especially since we are very similar with them from a genetically point of view. This means that we are unique from this point of view.
We did not follow the same path as the chimpanzees, the Neanderthals, and other primates did. Gunz said that the shape of the brain most likely did not make any important differences. However, he believes that the brain circuitry might have been affected by the shape of the brain, and that the interior design of the brain is what matters the most when it comes to the mental ability. In the case of the modern humans the connections between various regions from the brain are very important, because they dictate the communication, emotional, and social functions of an individual.
It seems that the differences between us and the Neanderthals are very small, and it is believed that these differences are related to the pattern and the speed of the development of the brain. Gunz said that the research of the brain could help them find out more about the Neanderthals and about the humans as well. It is believed that we share so many genes because our human ancestors might have mated with them. It is believe that we have some of the genes which belonged exclusively to the Neanderthals. This problem has been debated for a very long time now, and prior to this point it has been believed that they did not. According to the scientists, we could not have shared so many genes with them without if it would not have happened.
It is believed that it happened after our ancestors traveled to Africa, but in a period during which all of them were still present there. Afterwards the split occurred, when different tribes went to different places, and it must have been prior to that. They believe that it might have happened in the Middle East or in Africa somewhere, and that many North-Africans might share a small proportion of the Neanderthal gene. It is unknown in what manner did these genes influence the human behavior, but it is believed that it might have an influence on it. They managed to find certain genes which are present only in the humans, such as the ones which influence the skull, the cognitive behavior, the skin, and so on. Now all they need to do is find out the ones which belong strictly to the Neanderthals, to see what they do. It is also possible that the genes which we have taken from them to be inactive, meaning that they had a role in the past, but that they are useless now. There is still work to be done, but the scientists will try to do their best in order to make sure that they will acquire this information.11