Believing “facts” that are not…

False “facts” lead to false conclusions… In the story below a theory that has stood for 150 years has apparently been found to have no basis in reality… That neanderthals somehow evolved to live in cold climates, except that they did not live in cold cimates…   —Editor
Job 15:31 (HCS)
… Let him not put trust in worthless things, being led astray, for what he gets in exchange will prove worthless…


Neanderthals were not ugly because of the cold, new research finds

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent    8:00AM GMT 16 Jan 2011

The characteristic broad foreheads and large noses of Neanderthals did not give them any special advantage in the cold arctic conditions of the last ice age, according to new research that has raised new questions about the habitats our prehistoric relatives lived in and why they died out.

Their prominent facial features have caused them to be cast as one of nature’s less attractive creatures, but now one of the main scientific explanations for Neanderthals’ large noses and jutting foreheads has been disproved.

For more than 150 years scientists have explained the reason for these facial differences to modern humans as an adaptation that allowed Neanderthals to live in the freezing conditions that gripped Europe during the last Ice Age.

They believed prehistoric human relatives had enlarged sinuses which helped to warm the air as it was inhaled.

New research that used three dimensional scans and X-ray images of Neanderthal skulls has revealed that their sinuses were no bigger than modern humans, Homo sapiens, who evolved in more temperate climates, and so played no role in increasing the size of their facial features.

The researchers behind the study claim the findings suggest Neanderthals, which died out around 30,000 years ago after surviving for more than 400,000 years, did not evolve to survive in the harsh frozen tundra of Europe but instead were better suited for living in warmer climates.

Dr Todd Rae, an evolutionary anthropologist at Roehampton University in London, said it was more than likely that Neanderthals lived in temperate refuges where they could forage for fruit and berries as well as hunting for meat.

He said: “The view that Neanderthals were knuckle-dragging cave men who scraped a living by hunting large mammals on the frozen wastes of the tundra has been around since they were first discovered because they were known to live at a time when Europe was in the grip of the last Glacial Age.

“As a result a lot of their physical traits have been attributed as adaptations that helped them live in the cold, even when it doesn’t make any sense.

“Our findings show that their sinuses were no larger, relative to the skull size, than in Homo sapiens who lived in temperate climates. It suggests that Neanderthals evolved in much warmer temperatures before moving into Europe and then they moved south to avoid the glaciers.

“The picture of them as more of a temperate climate creature than one that lived in the cold fits the data much better.”

The remains of Neanderthals are found across Europe and in western and central Asia. Recent research has started to dispel theories that they were a primitive form of prehistoric human and is instead revealed that they used sophisticated tool kits, cooked their food and may even have been able to speak.

Recent research examining the remains of plant matter in the teeth of a Neanderthal skull has also helped to dismiss the earlier beliefs that Neanderthals were predominantly meat eaters that hunted large Ice Age mammals. Instead they were revealed to have foraged for berries, grain and vegetables, which they often cooked.

There are a number of theories for what caused Neanderthals to eventually die out, including competition with our own direct ancestors Homo sapiens, climate change caused their food supplies to disappear, or even interbreeding between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

But the latest findings on the size of the Neanderthal sinuses, which is published in the Journal of Human Evolution, has now raised new questions about what happened to them.

Dr Rae said: “It raises other possibilities for what caused Neanderthals to eventually die out. If they were restricted to living in warmer refuges at the height of the last ice age, it is possible their populations became too isolated and small to survive.”

Working with colleagues at Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität Greifswald, Germany, and The Natural History Museum, London, Dr Rae compared detailed scans of Neanderthal skulls with those of modern humans taken from Medieval remains.

He added: “We chose to use archaeological human remains rather than current skulls as we wanted to have data from a period before central heating and air conditioning which may have altered the results.

“As our results show that they don’t differ significantly from temperate-climate European humans, we can conclude that they were not regularly subjected to cold stress.”

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Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)   The Almighty’s creatures were designed for their environment… Science says the environment designed the creatures… Both positions cannot be true…   —Editor
… For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart…
John 1:1-3 (NIV)   All things came about and are still here because of His Word… His Word is synonymous with Jesus Christ…
… In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made…
Genesis 1:1 (NIV)
… In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…