The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersGene Expression Blog
The Neandertal-Modern Cultural Synthesis
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

220px-Pointes_de_chatelperron A new paper in PNAS, Palaeoproteomic evidence identifies archaic hominins associated with the Châtelperronian at the Grotte du Renne, weighs in the question of whether the Châtelperronian culture were Neandertals, with an answer in the affirmative in this case:

The displacement of Neandertals by anatomically modern humans (AMHs) 50,000–40,000 y ago in Europe has considerable biological and behavioral implications. The Châtelperronian at the Grotte du Renne (France) takes a central role in models explaining the transition, but the association of hominin fossils at this site with the Châtelperronian is debated. Here we identify additional hominin specimens at the site through proteomic zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry screening and obtain molecular (ancient DNA, ancient proteins) and chronometric data to demonstrate that these represent Neandertals that date to the Châtelperronian. The identification of an amino acid sequence specific to a clade within the genus Homo demonstrates the potential of palaeoproteomic analysis in the study of hominin taxonomy in the Late Pleistocene and warrants further exploration.

The details about stratigraphy are beyond me. But the protein and mtDNA evidence is pretty conclusive in my opinion that there are Neandertal individuals in this assemblage. Therefore, assuming their stratigraphy is correct, what you see in the Châtelperronian may be a cultural influence upon Neandertals by anatomically modern humans who were pushing into Europe at this time.

51r8Ph-vcaL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ But cultural influence may not be the only dynamic at work. In The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution Greg Cochran hypothesized that Châtelperronian culture may have been a vector for Neandertal genes coming into modern human populations. And now we know that this isn’t always one directional. That is, just as modern humans absorbed genes from “archaic” populations, so archaic groups absorbed ancestry from modern populations (or at least humans closer to the main stem of modern humanity).

51dw0Uce+XL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_ In The Third Chimpanzee Jared Diamond posited that the Châtelperronian Neandertals were analogous to native peoples in the New World such as the Cherokee, who adopted many aspects of European settler culture in their attempt to resist cultural absorption and marginalization. But one dynamic we need to remember about these tribes is that they also had a lot of European ancestry, in part because of the rapidly unbalanced population sizes. It seems entirely likely, as some have posited, that the last “Neandertal” populations were also substantially admixed. Therefore, it is not entirely surprising that they would also tend to exhibit cultural features more commonly found among modern humans.

My prediction is that when whole genomes of Châtelperronian Neandertals are available it is highly likely that they often show evidence of modern human ancestry.

Note: Diamond’s The Third Chimpanzee is in my opinion a very underrated work. It is a bit dated today, but I still think it is quite worth reading.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Evolution, Genomics, Human Evolution 
Hide 2 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. I reviewed some of the literature on the issue in a 2011 blog post that reported that while the Ulluzian industry sometimes considered transitional was clearly modern human that there was ongoing dispute regarding Chatelperronian industry with little linking it to modern humans but the evidence linking it to Neanderthals far from definitive.

    http://dispatchesfromturtleisland.blogspot.com/2011/11/maybe-neanderthals-were-less-bright.html

    A Neanderthal association with Chatelperronian industry was also supported by a late 2012 PNAS paper written after that post: “Radiocarbon dates from the Grotte du Renne and Saint-Césaire support a Neandertal origin for the Châtelperronian” Jean-Jacques Hublina, et al. (September 24, 2012).

    The new PNAS paper that you cite confirms the other recent research on the topic.

    I’ve tended to view the Chatelperronian as at least partially due to hybrid Neanderthal-human hybrids with Neanderthal mothers and predominantly Neanderthal descent together with possible cultural diffusion.

    If hybrids are involved, this greatly strengthens the argument that while Neanderthals may have been as smart or smarter than modern humans by some measures, that they were not nearly as plastic in term of their capacity to innovate or change behavior culturally.

  2. I’ve wondered if Chatelperronian might not be trade goods.
    The tools seem better than Middle Paleolithic tools and are
    only found when modern humans were probably nearby.

    We need to find a Chatelperronian foundry, which is not impossible.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Razib Khan Comments via RSS