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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Neanderthals may have overheated

    I haven't yet had a chance to look for the original source of this intriguing report, but here is what London's "Daily Telegraph" is saying:

    Neanderthals may have died out because their bodies overheated as the Earth grew warmer, according to new research.

    Analysis of DNA obtained from Neanderthal remains has revealed key differences from modern humans that suggest their bodies produced excess heat.

    While in the cold climate of an ice age this would have provided the species with an advantage, as the earth warmed they would have been less able to cope. Ultimately this would have caused their extinction around 24,000 years ago. ...
    Here's the key point:

    Professor Patrick Chinnery, a neurogeneticist at Newcastle University ... said ... "Differences in these mitochondrial DNA sequences might explain why modern humans were able to survive while Neanderthals were not ..."
    Neanderthals could have died out because their bodies overheated - Telegraph

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    Lewis if this were so, why couldn't they have just moved further north to exist? Brrrr...caribou. Eskimo territory. Wonder how much the Eskimo population has of Neanderthal DNA? I read that everyone else has between 2 and 4% of their genome from Neanderthals.
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    I had thought this was a new story, but it seems actually to be from 2008.

    There are few reports of it online and it looks to be a report of a presentation from an anthropological conference. There seems to be no paper to look at.

    Sure, they didn't penetrate as far north as modern man has. Perhaps it never occurred to them to make a needle and some thread and use those to make fitted clothing. If they were made to run really hot, which is why they coped with the Ice Age, to the extent that they were not comfortable or healthy when it warmed up, why couldn't they simply move to colder areas? I've no suggestions.

    I don't know to what extent Professor Patrick Chinnery and his collaborators would be able to tell how the Neanderthal mitochondria was working from looking at the DNA and how much of this would be speculation.

    I guess part of the trouble with these stories is that only specialists would be able to look at the original data and know anything from it. The rest of us just have to hope they're interpreting it correctly.

    It's a kind of interesting story, and one I'd missed first time round. Whether they're onto anything ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moochy View Post
    Lewis if this were so, why couldn't they have just moved further north to exist? Brrrr...caribou. Eskimo territory. Wonder how much the Eskimo population has of Neanderthal DNA? I read that everyone else has between 2 and 4% of their genome from Neanderthals.
    Interesting, I have 2.9% Neanderthal DNA and my tolerance for heat is so-so. Not that that really means anything, but fun to ponder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbone View Post
    Interesting, I have 2.9% Neanderthal DNA ...
    I'm kind of envious. For all I know I may have more than that, or I may have none at all -- not that it matters either way, but just knowing must seem to make the past closer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis View Post
    I'm kind of envious. For all I know I may have more than that, or I may have none at all -- not that it matters either way, but just knowing must seem to make the past closer.
    About a year ago 23andme was offering their testing for $99 and I got a discount code from Paleolithicdiet.com, so had my genome done for $50. (Plus 10 p/m subscription) They test for Neanderthal DNA along with the regular ancestry and disease stuff. It's gone back up to $300, unfortunately. I'd been wanting to do it for some time so jumped when I saw that offer. I just signed up for the American Gut Project which I'm all kinds of excited about.

    Oh, and if you're of European or Asian heritage you most likely have some Neanderthal DNA. I'm mostly German/IrishEnglish, so if you have a similar background then I'd bet you have some.
    Last edited by Blackcatbone; 11-22-2012 at 12:07 PM.

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    I've heard something about this before - probably on some documentarry or something. My understanding was that Neanderthals didn't cope as well as humans in the heat, allowing us an advantage, so we out-compeated them for food, driving them into smaller and smaller areas, then even in cold climates, we still kicked their arse with our funcky threads (thus evening up the advantage they had), and eventually there wasn't enough of them to be a sustainable species and they died out.
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Rob View Post
    ... so we out-compeated them for food ...
    So there was a thought that it could slot in as a variant on that theme?

    In one form or another that seems to be a favourite these days. In the past, people imagined violent clashes. Now they seem to think it's assuming less to say there may or may not have been -- the impact may have been indirect. This might be something like the way grey squirrels displaced red squirrels in Britain:

    Red squirrel and grey squirrel ecology

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis View Post
    I'm kind of envious. For all I know I may have more than that, or I may have none at all -- not that it matters either way, but just knowing must seem to make the past closer.
    In case you were interested, 23andme just dropped their price to $99.

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    LOL, wish I had more Neanderthal genes then. I'm always freezing.

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