A new leg on the human journey

An ancient bone reveals when we bred with Neanderthals.
My latest piece for The Conversation.

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2 thoughts on “A new leg on the human journey

  1. 1. Did Neanderthal not fish? Surprising if so. 2. From other reading, my understanding has been that homo erectus died out, well, I’m guessing when Toba blew and shaded about 72kya, apart from homo florensis (the hobbit). Is that not so? The statement was made that AMH met N. D, and homo erectus; really; what’s the evidence?

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    • An honest answer is that I’m not an archeologist or palaeontologist, and I’m learning a lot of this stuff as I go. Doing a bit of reading now, I find things that claim that they have evidence for Neanderthals eating fish, and others claiming that they didn’t (in any significant amount). Also I read that these kinds of habits may have been gained and lost several times. I guess there are also many different ways to fish, more or less efficiently. Maybe a more nuanced idea of “behavioural modernity” could be something like the coming together and widespread adoption of a particularly effective package of behaviours, each of which may well have started to evolve already.

      As for amh meeting other groups of humans in Eurasia: genetics suggests that they met and interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans. Homo erectus is harder to be sure about, I suppose. The confidence of my statement maybe owes a lot the older estimates of amh leaving Africa. I should have hedged my bet, now that we believe this probably happened later. However, I don’t think there’s a consensus on when H erectus died out, so I still believe it to be a very real possibility that they met. What do you think?

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