Were Neanderthals Smarter than us?

Some new research has come out suggesting that Neanderthals and humans diverged just under 700,000 years ago. Researchers have extracted DNA from Neanderthal bones and examined the mitochondrial DNA. They estimate that there were only 10,000 Neanderthals at any time before their extinction 30,000 years ago. The Neanderthals were much shorter than humans but had a larger cranial capacity. Recent research reported on in a previous post suggests that they had speech. They were also known to bury their dead and there are a number of other significant characteristics. Having a larger cranial capacity is suggestive of them having a larger brain. The size of the brain doesn’t necessarily relate to intelligence, its the wiring that’s important. However, if the Neanderthals lasted for over 600,000 years and were only 10,000 in number that’s pretty staggering. Our written history really dates back over the last 6,000 years. If you multiply that by 100, you get the length of time Neanderthals have been on the Earth. That’s food for thought and I can see the blockbuster film in the making! (STT score = 6 – see Appendix)

Appendix

STT score – Steps to Treatment i.e. how many steps would there be from using this knowledge to implementing useful clinical treatment at some point in the future?

1. DNA sequencing identifies unique areas of Human Genome (distinct from Neanderthal DNA) related to brain development 2. Genes focused on in this area and identified 3. Genes linked to Illness 4. Agents identified for modifying genes 5. Agents pass through phase I-III trials 6. Prescribing allowed and agents introduced into clinical practice.

Disclaimer

The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor.

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