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Why Neanderthals Sported Arms Like Popeye

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  • Why Neanderthals Sported Arms Like Popeye

    Hit the link for the full article...

    Why Neanderthals Sported Arms Like Popeye | LiveScience

    "Neanderthals have really interesting upper bodies," researcher Colin Shaw, a biological anthropologist at the University of Cambridge in England, told LiveScience. "If you and I are both right-handed, you'd expect 4 to 13 percent asymmetry between our arms. Neanderthals have up to 50 percent or more asymmetry. They were doing something with their dominant arms that were either more intense or repetitive or both than we do today. The only population of modern people that we see who are similar are tennis players, who hit tennis balls many, many years aggressively."

    Edit to add - My partner suggested maybe they were fapping to cave art
    Last edited by JBailey; 07-18-2012, 08:10 PM.
    Seven Trees Farm - diversified subsistence farming on 1.25 acres.

  • #2


    Must have been their strong hand...

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    • #3
      It's possible they had developed a form of knife or stick fighting (think Irish shillelagh) by that time as well. The technology was there and the musculature suggests that to me.
      In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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      • #4
        I'm a little stumped on this one. It clearly has to be some sort of tool use, in my mind. Could be a weapon, a digging stick, a construction tool.

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        • #5
          My right arm was almost twice as large as my left when I was practicing with weapons regularly. Just saying.
          In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JBailey View Post
            Edit to add - My partner suggested maybe they were fapping to cave art
            HAHA my immediate thought xD

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            • #7
              Originally posted by wiltondeportes View Post


              Must have been their strong hand...
              my germs!

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              • #8
                I had a friend a few years ago who was a seriously competitive fencer (competed at the national level), and his dominant arm was huge compared to the other. I can imagine that use of hand weapons plus heavy use of hand tools of whatever type could definitely lead to muscular imbalance if they tended to be strongly dominant on one side.
                “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                Owly's Journal

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JBailey View Post
                  Hit the link for the full article...

                  Why Neanderthals Sported Arms Like Popeye | LiveScience
                  Yeah, intriguing. From your link:

                  The researchers found that spear-thrusting led to significantly higher muscle activity on the left side of the body than on the right, opposite to what is seen in Neanderthal fossils.
                  So, as they say, either it can't have been from spear-thrusting or most Neanderthals were left-handed.

                  I wonder if they were using missile-weapons? I wonder what pattern of muscle-activity throwing a javelin would result in -- not that I know offhand whether any of their toolkits contain stone-points that suggest anything like a throwing-spear.

                  Then I guess there's throwing a large stone one-handed -- a pound or so in weight. Maybe they'd do that.

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                  • #10
                    Hanging from a branch with one arm while grabbing fruit with the other comes to mind. But most likely weapon use is the culprit I'd guess. And ritualistic male assertion games like arm-wrestling or stone hurling make sense, too.
                    Crohn's, doing SCD

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lewis View Post
                      So, as they say, either it can't have been from spear-thrusting or most Neanderthals were left-handed.
                      Possibly relevant?

                      Gene for Left-Handed Trait Discovered

                      I wonder whether Neanderthals had brains with the same degree of asymmetry as modern humans. I'm not sure we can assume that they were right handed just because most modern humans are. I'm curious as to whether those researchers who are studying Neanderthal genetics have identified whether this gene is present in their specimens.
                      “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                      Owly's Journal

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                      • #12
                        Wanna high-five?

                        carl's cave

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by carlh View Post
                          Wanna high-five?

                          Okay it looks like he's having trouble holding that thing up. Maybe he should throw in some whole body stuff so he can walk without falling to the side.
                          In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It's genetic, Alex. Though he could bulk up his non-wrestling arm, I suppose.
                            Crohn's, doing SCD

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
                              It's genetic, Alex. Though he could bulk up his non-wrestling arm, I suppose.
                              He should. Having one arm like that is a huge athletic disadvantage.
                              In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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