Archive for September, 2008

1947: From Whence Came the Sea Shells 10,000 Feet Up in the Andes?, Science, The Flood of Noah, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 30 2008

Marine Fossils from Andes May Throw Light on Jungle Oil
Museum-Columbia Expedition Brings Back 4,000 Pounds of Shells from Mountains, Once the Floor of a Shallow Sea

New York Times
October 13, 1947

“Marine fossils uncovered by an expedition 10,000 feet up in the Peruvian Andes have arrived in New York, it was announced yesterday by officials of Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History.

The 4,000 pounds of fossilized shells, described as one of the most significant finds in recent years, are expected to throw light on one of the world’s last great untapped oil preserves in the jungles of the Upper Amazon basin.”

It’s funny how your world view impacts one’s view of the evidence, isn’t it? A person without the practiced eye that the paradigm uses to view these things might surmise that there was another way for those shells to have gotten on top of the mountain.

Genesis 7:20
The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.

How many scientists whilst pondering this situation (sea shells at 10,000 to 16,000 feet) would have even considered that perhaps these mountains had ever been covered over with water? One supposes that they would rather champion the idea that they were dropped there by aliens.

On the other hand, the idea that the mountains had once been part of a shallow sea sounds reasonable enough, and perhaps they had been. The fact is, however whatever evidence that there was that got the shallow sea theory going likely might have also supported a great flood theory as well.

One might suppose that the 4,000 pounds of shells that were found might not be enough for ancient lands that were once a shallow sea. One might suppose then that every square inch of the mountain should contain remnants of that ancient sea bottom. Perhaps the distribution of shells as they were found might better fit the notion that they were carried there and deposited.

The article goes on nevertheless to say that “the discovery of the colorful marine fossils in the Andes adds proof to theories that the range once lay under a shallow sea”. Were there no other hypotheses?

We are told that there was evidence that the same shallow sea once covered Texas and Oklahoma. Well, it couldn’t have been the flood of Noah then, right? Did those waters allegedly cover Texas and Oklahoma?

According to the article, marine fossils which were unknown to science were found in the Andes and several 100 pound blocks containing fossils were brought back to the museum.

What really happened here?

Creationist issues $11 trillion challenge

Church of Darwin, Science, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 30 2008

“the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.” Stephen Jay Gould (Natural History, 86:12-16)

New Zealand Herald
4:00AM Tuesday Sep 30, 2008

ISTANBUL – A controversial creationist has offered a multitrillion-dollar challenge to scientists.

Adnan Oktar’s “call to all evolutionists” promises “10 trillion Turkish lira to anyone who produces a single intermediate-form fossil demonstrating evolution” – a sum roughly equal to $11.7 trillion.

The Muslim writer, who uses the pen name Harun Yahya, is a fierce critic of “the Darwinist dictatorship” and a popular figure in Turkey, where only a quarter of the population believe in evolution.

The 52-year-old former architecture student claims there are no fossils to support Darwinist theories.

“Not one [fossil] belongs to strange-looking creatures in the course of development of the kind supposed by evolutionists.”

However, scientists reject his claims that these fossils do not exist. Dr Kevin Padian at the University of California told the New York Times Oktar “does not have any sense of what we know about how things change through time. If he sees a fossil crab, he says, ‘It looks just like a regular crab, there’s no evolution.’ Extinction does not seem to bother him.”

Oktar found fame in 2006 when 10,000 copies of his Atlas Of Creation were distributed worldwide. The 800-page volume illustrated his claims that for millions of years life forms have not developed, supporting his Islamic creationist beliefs.

*Richard Dawkins, a British biologist, called the Atlas “preposterous”, speaking of “the breathtaking inanity of the content”.

Oktar responded: “We could have spoken on a more scientific basis if he had been able to produce an intermediate form fossil capable of confirming evolution.”

This month Oktar won a case in a Turkish court claiming that Dawkins’ website contained blasphemous and defamatory content. Internet users in Turkey can no longer access the site.


*No, not “transitional”. Good try.

Mega Fauna: Prehistoric Giant Goose Skull Found

Giants in Those Days, Science, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 29 2008

By Andrea Thompson, Senior Writer

26 September 2008

Scientists have found a new huge and well-preserved fossil of a goose and duck relative that swam around what is now England 50 million years ago flashing sharp, toothy smiles.

The skull, discovered on the Isle of Sheppey off the southeast coast of England in the Thames Estuary, belonged to a huge ancient bird in the extinct genus Dasornis, which had a whopping 16-foot (5-meter) wingspan.

“Imagine a bird like an ocean-going goose almost the size of a small plane!” said Gerald Mayr of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany and a member of the team that studied the skull. “By today’s standards, these were pretty bizarre animals, but perhaps the strangest thing about them is that they had sharp, tooth-like projections along the cutting edges of the beak.”

Scientists had found fossils of other bony-toothed birds, or pelagornithids, in deposits called the London Clay, which underlies much of London, Essex and northern Kent in the southeast of England. This new fossil, from the same clay layer, is one of the most well-preserved fossils ever found there and has provided scientists with previously unknown details of the birds’ anatomy. Mayr’s study of the fossil is detailed in the Sept. 26 issue of the journal Palaeontology.

Like all living birds, Dasornis had a beak made of keratin, the same substance that forms our hair and fingernails. But unlike modern birds, whose ancestors lost their teeth through evolutionary processes, Dasornis had bony “pseudo-teeth” (true teeth are made of enamel and dentine).

Mayr said that the ancestors of modern birds likely lost their teeth to save weight and make flying easier, but that bony-toothed birds such as Dasornis re-evolved them for dietary reasons.

“These birds probably skimmed across the surface of the sea, snapping up fish and squid on the wing,” he explained. “With only an ordinary beak, these would have been difficult to keep hold of, and the pseudo-teeth evolved to prevent meals slipping away.”

Researchers think that the closest living relatives to Dasornis are not other big birds such as the albatross, but ducks and geese.

Click here to See More Mega fauna in our “Mega” Section


Neolithic Pyramid Shaped Artifact Found in Area of Alleged Bosnian Pyramid

Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 29 2008

An archaeological site in Donje Mostre, in the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramid, has unveiled a Neolithic artefact that has been dated to 6000-3000 BC.

The discovery was made by students of the German University of Kiel on September 23, and was announced by Zilke Kujundžic, who is actually one of the main opponents to the pyramid project, having filed numerous petitions for the work to be stopped, claiming the entire project is a hoax. We need to specify she actually labelled the object a pyramid.

The small ceramic pyramid – in some reports also referred to as a benben stone, because of apparent visual similarities with such stones in Egypt – is a major discovery, showing that local people, millennia ago, created ceramic objects in the shape of a pyramid. One can only wonder why, noting that Donje Mostre is also the location where giant rectangular stone blocks have been found, some of which are definitely manmade.

Nevertheless, being the extreme (one might argue irrational) critic she is, Kujundžic has refused to admit she might be wrong, stating that the find is “not related” to the nearby pyramids. Meanwhile, Kujundžic was also accused of not having shared the discovery with the local Visoko museum.

It is no doubt divine irony that some of the best archaeological evidence for the reality of the pyramids, has been unearthed by one of its fiercest opponents.
Second Photo:Alleged Pyramid
Click Here for Other Bosnian Pyramid Items from the s8intcom Blogger

Neanderthal Illustrator Goes “Extinct”?

Amusing?, Church of Darwin,, Science, Sophistication of Ancestors | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 24 2008

Cecil Dallas: Good morning, Mr. E.W. Jones, I’m Cecil Dallas from KCOO Breaking News. When News Breaks, We Fix It!

Mr. E. W. Jones: Good morning. You’re half an hour late. As you can see, I’m in the middle of something right now.

Cecil Dallas: My apologies. I had a Live standup remote in front of the River City bank branch that was robbed two weeks ago. Had to coordinate with Live Copter 3.

Now, you’re known as the Father of “Neanderthal Man”, isn’t that right, Mr. Jones.

Mr. E. W. Jones: I have been called that, which is ironic because I never had any children of my own. Neanderthal is kind of my “baby” so to speak. Of course, my contribution has primarily been to picture Neanderthal for science and the general public. It’s my illustrations of him that have really set the tone, I suppose; strong, inhuman, humanish, hairy, primitive with an air of; I just might evolve into something important!

Cecil Dallas: How about the Neanderthal woman? What’s her signature look?

Mr. E. W. Jones: Smaller mustaches.

Cecil Dallas: I wasn’t aware that you use live models?

Mr. E. W. Jones: Not all the time, no. But having a live model helps me get things like musculature and facial expressions correct. You’d be surprised how that humanizes, no pun intended, my Neanderthal drawings and paintings, like this one here.

This gentleman for instance, really helps me get the Neanderthal scowl down in a realistic manner. And I’m very proud of my little, primitive touches that really convey “cave man”. Like the unibrow. And of course, copious body hair. I give them a slightly aware but confused expression which says; “why are you looking at me for”?

Cute story on the body hair; that idea came from a very hirsute gentleman who waited on me at a local restaurant when I was working on my first drawing! Parted his arm hair on the side. True story!

Cecil Dallas: How’d you come to be the preeminent Neanderthal illustrator/painter in the world, Mr. Jones. Did you have a special background for it?

Mr. E. W. Jones: I’m no one trick pony. I’m also known for my drawings of Cro Magnon, as well.. You know, he said wistfully, I came by this work honestly. My father and grandfathers were caveman illustrators for a time until tragedy struck, for both of them. My grandfather drew the most noteworthy and widely distributed version of “Nebraska Man” which took off like wildfire for a time and made his career. Then they found out that it was a pig’s tooth!

Then with my father, it was Piltdown man. Need I say more?

Cecil Dallas: Please do! So despite these tragedies, you followed your father and grandfather into the business?

Mr. E. W. Jones:. Well, I’ve always been interested in art and in science. Early on, I was doing drawings and paintings primarily of prehistoric insects like the spider and prehistoric ants and the like. I drew them for science magazines and newspapers; you know whenever someone found some new ones in amber etc. I got to know all the parties that way.

Cecil Dallas: Interesting! What do primitive spiders and ants look like?

Mr. E. W. Jones: Oh, well, first, picture in your mind a spider or an ant that you would see today.

Cecil Dallas: O.K. Then what?

Mr. E. W. Jones: Then nothing. That’s what they looked like.

Cecil Dallas: Oh!, Well, the reason we are here to today is that we understand that the preeminent Neanderthal illustrator in the world is retiring, is that true?

We’re Live!

Studio Model: Look, you two. I need to get back to my books. Those who waste my time are either ignorant, or dare I say it; wicked!

Mr. E. W. Jones: I’m not leaving Neanderthal, he’s leaving me! The Neanderthal man that I created, that has been the standard for so many years in science; the primitive, hulking caveman is going the way of the dinosaur. He has become extinct.

Cecil Dallas: Cecil Dallas, Breaking News, here Live! with caveman illustrator, E.W. Jones. You say that Neanderthal has become extinct? I thought he already was extinct.

Mr. E. W. Jones: Not him, my drawings! It’s all been really too much. In the last few years scientific discoveries have made him seem more and more like you and me. My illustrations of the more primitive Neanderthal man are no longer in vogue. I’ve been ruined first by forensic science, then by DNA analysis and now, even by anthropologists who have previously guided my creations! If it weren’t for Nova and certain other science programs I would have retired years ago!

They walked upright. They buried their dead. They maybe had language. They interacted with modern humans. Their DNA matches human DNA to 99.99%. They made tools as good or better than “modern humans”. They played soccer! Whatever! If they were stronger, had larger brains, and could kill mammoths, how come they didn’t wipe us out, some wonder?

And now, another blow. Did you read this latest piece in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.?

Cecil Dallas: Umm, no. I haven’t read mine through, yet.

Mr. E. W. Jones: Neanderthals ate seals and dolphins! Just like their “modern man” counterparts. This means that they could keep a calendar, because that prey was seasonal, it means that they could fish, use tools, possibly language. For years, the scientists I work with had said the ability to catch large seafood staples separated modern man from the more primitive Neanderthal!

Some of these guys are perplexed because they had listed all these reasons why superior modern man eliminated Neanderthal and one by one they’ve all been knocked down. Worst of all, forensic science indicates that they looked “like us”.

Cecil Dallas: So, I take it that this here is one of your last, primitive Neanderthal type paintings?

Mr. E. W. Jones: No! Why do people keep saying that? This is one of my new, modern looking Neanderthals!

I’m getting out of this business!

Cecil Dallas: What will you do now?

Mr. E. W. Jones: I’m going to do portraits at fairs and carnivals. Also, I’m going to become a wedding photographer. Here’s my card. Of course I expect to still get the occasional commission from Nova. They are slow to make changes on some of these things, you know? Their Ancient Egyptians are still white! If wedding photography doesn’t work out I’ll try my hand at Hobbits.

Studio Model: If I don’t get up off of this chair in a very few minutes I’m going to have to evolve a thicker keister!!!!

Mr. E. W. Jones: Look Dawk! I don’t know why you’re in such a bad mood? I’m out of business here and you just signed a lucrative endorsement deal with “Selfish Jeans”.

Neanderthal Ate Seals and Dolphins

During This Report, the Creationists Kept Nodding Knowingly and Winking to Each Other; Rude!
Dinosaurs Died Agonizing Deaths; As if From Drowning?, Science, The Flood of Noah, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 21 2008

Dinosaurs Died Agonizing Deaths
By LiveScience Staff

09 June 2007 10:07

Fossilized dinosaurs often have wide-open mouths, heads thrown back and tails that curve toward the head. Paleontologists have long assumed the dinosaurs died in water and the currents drifted the bones into that position, or that rigor mortis or drying muscles, tendons and ligaments contorted the limbs.

“I’m reading this in the literature and thinking, ‘This doesn’t make any sense to me as a veterinarian,’” said Cynthia Marshall Faux, a veterinarian-turned-paleontologist at the Museum of the Rockies.

Faux and a colleague say brain damage and asphyxiation are the more likely culprits.

A classic example of the posture, which has puzzled paleontologists for ages, is the 150-million-year-old Archaeopteryx, the first-known example of a feathered dinosaur and the proposed link between dinosaurs and present-day birds.

“Virtually all articulated specimens of Archaeopteryx are in this posture, exhibiting a classic pose of head thrown back, jaws open, back and tail reflexed backward and limbs contracted,” said Kevin Padian, professor of integrative biology and curator in the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley. He Faux (pronounced “Fox”) published their findings this week in the journal Paleobiology.

Some animals found in this posture may have suffocated in ash during a volcanic eruption, consistent with the fact that many fossils are found in ash deposits, Faux and Padian said. But many other possibilities exist, including disease, brain trauma, severe bleeding, thiamine deficiency or poisoning.

“This puts a whole new light on the mode of death of these animals, and interpretation of the places they died in,” Padian said. “This explanation gives us clues to interpreting a great many fossil horizons we didn’t understand before and tells us something dinosaurs experienced while dying, not after dying.”

Also, because the posture has been seen only in dinosaurs, pterosaurs and mammals, which are known or suspected to have had high metabolic rates, it appears to be a good indicator that the animal was warm blooded, as other research has suggested. Animals with lower metabolic rates, such as crocodiles and lizards, use less oxygen and so might have been less traumatically affected by hypoxia during death throes, Padian said.

Padian acknowledged that many dinosaur fossils show signs that the animal died in water and the current tugged the body into an arched position, but currents cannot explain all the characteristics of an opisthotonic pose.

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Ramar Sethu is a Man-Made Sea Ridge: Study

Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 21 2008

Sunday November 25 2007


BANGALORE: A recent scientific research using archeo-astronomy tools has sought to prove that Ramar Sethu is not natural but a man-made sea ridge. It�s a testimony to the civil engineering marvel of an ancient civilisation, that stands even today as a man-made accretion over a natural formation in the sea.

DK Hari, conceptualiser of Bharath Gyan, a NGO which is in to collating specific, scientific knowledge of India has, at a presentation on �Historical Rama� here on Saturday, said the records compiled together talk about Ramar Sethu�s usage until 1480. But it went into disrepair after a debilitating cyclone in 1480, he pointed out.

Hari said Rama indeed was a historical hero and lived nearly 7200 years ago. To rescue Sita from the clutches of Ravana, Lord Rama and his team built the bridge. With the help of Nala as the architect, he designed and executed the project along with the help of �Vanara� tribe. So Rama named the bridge after Nala.

The Sethu came to be known as Adam�s bridge as Sri Lanka�s first Muslim leader, Adham, reached the island from India crossing over this bridge. The Europeans found it easy to call it Adam�s Bridge rather than Nala Setu or Ramar Sethu.

Hari said that the scientific corroborating evidences is the outcome from the analysis of astronomical skycharts using modern scientific tools, geological surveys and research, archaeological research, historical notes of travellers, published Government Gazettes and historical records of the British.

Today, there is a natural sea ridge formation over the seabed linking the land masses of India and Sri Lanka. Hari said “the sea level has risen nine feet above the bridge in the last 7000 years. The bridge is covered under the layers of hardened sands.”

About the execution of the bridge, Hari said that Nala identified a linear chain of islands and converted it with land fills and used it for building the 35-km bridge in just five days at a ratio of 100:10 with an average breadth of 3.5 km as found by NASA and also mentioned in the ancient scriptures.

The dilapidated structure still stands testimony to the engineering marvel of that period. It comprised 103 small patch reefs lying in a linear pattern with reef crest, sand and intermittent deep channels. The space left between the stones allows water to pass through it.

Thus, the knowledge of pore pressure was incorporated in the bridge, Hari said.

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Conspiracy of Science – The Earth is in Fact Growing

Giants in Those Days,, Science, The Flood of Noah, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 20 2008


This is interesting. This guy, Neal Adams has a theory that the Earth has been growing over time and that the theory of “continental drift” is bogus. This has no real implications Biblically, as the Bible does not address whether or not the continents have drifted apart -or whether the planet is in fact growing/expanding. There is no such thing as “subduction” claims the author: “In geology, a subduction zone is an area on Earth where two tectonic plates meet and move towards one another, with one sliding underneath the other and moving down into the mantle, at rates typically measured in centimeters per year.” Wikipedia

One thing that a growing planet would explain, were it true, is why the planet’s gravity was apparently so much weaker in the past than it is today. (If that were not true, birds with 26 foot wingspans would never have gotten off the ground and dinosaurs would not have been able to even lift their necks above the ground). In the past, many animals besides dinosaurs were of mega size. (Click Here)

This video does an impressive job of demonstrating that the planet has grown (by shrinking it) and it appears that this theory fits the data better than “continental drift” does. We don’t agree with the author’s age of earth assumptions but it’s still an interesting theory…




(I am quite serious about this. I’m not angry nor do I disrespect geology. In fact I’m saying geology is the key science that may and must now open the door to all of science’s future this century, and it’s a damn shame. Geology doesn’t take its responsibility seriously.)

If there was a time, friend geologist, to challenge me, this is the time. Perhaps the last time before I publicly challenge the last 40 years of wrong geological theory before it‘s built up again. My main target:

There is no subduction. No plates subduct. Subduction is unscientific and untrue, the ramifications of which are world shaking. And… the Earth grows! (You may have heard this before, so I caution you. This is not your father’s Earth expanding theory.) Earth is growing, not expanding, and therein lies the past-error who’s answer lies in physics and not geology. Still here we mainly talk geology.

Click here to read the rest of this article by Neal Adams; A CHALLENGE TO ALL GEOLOGISTS ON EARTH

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South African Ruins 75000 years Old?

Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, The Flood of Noah, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 16 2008

(For the record, we’re not on board with current “scientific dating” techniques.)

When historians first stumbled upon these structures they simply assumed that they were cattle kraal left behind by the Bantu people as they moved south and settled the land from around the 13th century.

But research work done by people like Cyril Hromnik, Richard Wade, Johan Heine and a handful of others over the past twenty years, into ancient southern African history, has revealed that these stone structures are in fact more than just cattle kraal, but the remains of ancient temples and astronomical observatories of lost ancient civilisations that stretch back for thousands of years.

These circular ruins are spread over thousands of square kilometres. They can only truly be appreciated from the air, and those lucky enough to view these ruins from the air will be able to see hundreds of ruins in a one-hour trip.

Many of them have almost completely eroded or have been covered by the movement of soil, while some have survived and still display the great sizes of the original walls that stand 2,5 metres high and over a metre wide in places. Prof Guy Charlesworth of Wits University concurs that if these were the original heights of some of the walls, it would have taken thousands of years to erode to knee-height through the effects of nature alone.

An ancient road structure that is still visible for hundreds of kilometres once connected most or all of these ruins. It becomes evident that this was no accidental settlement but a well planned and evolved civilisation that were mining gold and had some means of transport.

Extended agricultural terraces are spread over large areas, often resembling scenes from the Inca settlements in Peru. This would suggest that these people had a good knowledge of agriculture and planted produce extensively.

There is no real count or audit of these ruins at present, but it is estimated by those who have been flying over them for many years that there must be around 20,000 structures scattered all over southern and east Africa.


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The Continuing Rehabiltation of Neanderthal
Did He Get a Publicist?

Church of Darwin,, Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 13 2008

When someone uses Neanderthal as an adjective, as in he is a real Neanderthal, (or is that a noun?) it is not considered to be a compliment. However, in the last few years, with the advent of DNA sequencing and even forensic science, Neanderthal and Cro Magnon (cavemen) have been the recipients of some excellent press.

We already knew that they were stronger than “we” are, but maybe scientists now theorize, they actually looked like us; one scientist found that their DNA is 99.9% equivalent to ours (which is how your DNA compares to any neighbors); maybe, they did intermarry another supposes; their tools were the equal of ours this current article recognizes, so how come we are supposed to have supplanted them? If evolutionary theories are true, shouldn’t stronger, as intelligent beings have supplanted “us”?

Neanderthals Conquered Mammoths, Why Not Us?
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

: The Human Animal Sept. 9, 2008 — They may have been stronger, but Neanderthals looked, ate and may have even thought much like modern humans do, suggest several new studies that could help explain new evidence that the early residents of prehistoric Europe and Asia engaged in head-to-head combat with woolly mammoths.

Together, the findings call into question how such a sophisticated group apparently disappeared off the face of the Earth around 30,000 years ago.

The new evidence displays the strengths and weaknesses of Neanderthals, suggesting they were skilled hunters but not as brainy and efficient as modern humans, who eventually took over Neanderthal territories.

Neanderthal Vs. Woolly Mammoth

Most notably among the new studies is what researchers say is the first ever direct evidence that a woolly mammoth was brought down by Neanderthal weapons.

Margherita Mussi and Paola Villa made the connection after studying a 60,000 to 40,000-year-old mammoth skeleton unearthed near Neanderthal stone tool artifacts at a site called Asolo in northeastern Italy. The discoveries are described in this month’s Journal of Archaeological Science.

Villa, a curator of paleontology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, told Discovery News that other evidence suggests Neanderthals hunted the giant mammals, but not as directly. At the English Channel Islands, for example, 18 woolly mammoths and five woolly rhinoceroses dating to 150,000 years ago “were driven off a cliff and died by falling into a ravine about 30 meters (over 98 feet) deep. They were then butchered.”

Villa, however, pointed out that “there were no stone points or other possible weapons” found at the British site.

“At Asolo, instead there was a stone point that was very probably mounted on a wooden spear and used to kill the animal,” she added.

Several arrowheads were excavated at the Italian site, but the one of greatest interest is fractured at the tip, indicating that it “impacted bone or the thick skin of the mammoth.”

Other studies on stone points suggest that if such a weapon were rammed into a large beast, it would be likely to fracture the same way.

What’s For Dinner?

There is no question that Neanderthals craved meat and ate a lot of it.

A study in this month’s issue of the journal Antiquity by German anthropologists Michael Richard and Ralf Schmitz found that Neanderthals went for red meat, not of the woolly mammoth variety, but from red deer, roe deer, and reindeer.

The scientists came to that conclusion after grinding up bone samples taken from the remains of Neanderthals found in Germany and then analyzing the isotopes within. These forms of chemical elements — in this case, carbon and nitrogen — reveal if the individual being tested lived on meat, fish or plants, since each food group has its own carbon and nitrogen signature.

Richard and Schmitz conclude that the Neanderthals subsisted primarily on meat from deer, which they probably stalked in organized groups.

The researchers say their findings “reinforce the idea that Neanderthals were sophisticated hunters with an advanced ability to organize and communicate.”

Villa agrees.

“Neanderthals are no longer considered inferior hunters,” she said. “Neanderthals were capable of hunting a wide range of prey, from dangerous animals such as brown bears, mammoths and rhinos, to large, medium and small-size ungulates such as bison, aurochs, horse, red deer, reindeer, roe deer and wild goats.”

Enter Homo Sapiens

Fossils suggest that Neanderthals and modern humans coexisted in Western Europe for at least 10,000 years. While there is a smattering of evidence that the two species interbred, most anthropologists believe the commingling was infrequent or not enough to substantially affect the Homo sapiens gene pool.

New evidence supports that notion, while also revealing that the world’s first anatomically modern humans retained a few Neanderthal-like characteristics.

Several papers in the current Journal of Human Evolution describe the world’s first known people, which shared bone, hand and ankle features with Neanderthals and possibly also Homo erectus.

John Fleagle, professor of anatomical sciences at Stony Brook University, who worked on the early human research, told Discovery News that the shared characteristics “are just primitive features retained from a common ancestor.”

Neanderthal Brain Power

It’s known that Neanderthals had more robust skeletons than modern humans, with particularly strong arms and hands, but were the two groups evenly matched in brainpower?

A new study in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides some intriguing clues.

Marcia Ponce de Leon of the University of Zurich’s Anthropological Institute and Museum and her colleagues virtually reconstructed brain size and growth of three Neanderthal infant skeletons found in Syria and Russia.

“Neanderthal brain size at birth was similar to that in recent Homo sapiens and most likely subject to similar obstetric constraints,” Ponce de Leon and her team concluded, although they added that “Neanderthal brain growth rates during early infancy were higher” than those experienced by modern humans.

It appears, therefore, that while Neanderthal brains grew at about the same rate as ours, they had a small size advantage.

Trade-Offs in Evolution

But bigger is not always better in terms of brain function. Modern humans evolved smaller, but more efficient, brains.

Ponce de Leon and her colleagues suggest, “It could be argued that growing smaller — but similarly efficient — brains required less energy investment and might ultimately have led to higher net reproduction rates.”

On the down side for people, however, brainpower efficiency doesn’t come without a cost.

“Our new research suggests that schizophrenia is a byproduct of the increased metabolic demands brought about during human brain evolution,” explained Philipp Khaitovich of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Shanghai branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Cards Evenly Stacked

Weighing the pros and cons of each species, Neanderthals and modern humans may have been evenly matched when they shared European land, with more and more scientists puzzling over how such an advanced, human-like being became extinct.

University of Exeter archaeologist Metin Eren hopes the latest findings will not only change the image of Neanderthals, but also the direction that future research on these prehistoric hominids will take.

“It is time for archaeologists to start searching for other reasons why Neanderthals became extinct while our ancestors survived,” Eren said.

“When we think of Neanderthals, we need to stop thinking in terms of stupid or less advanced and more in terms of different,” he added.

See Also: Neanderthal Brains Grew Like “Ours”. Duh!

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