Saturday, April 18, 2009

Neandertal Subgroups

Science News reports on a study by Virginie Fabre, Silvana Condemi and others which has suggested that, based on mitochondrial DNA studies, the Neandertal group of archaic Homo sapiens in fact consisted of three diferent subgroups. The story notes:
The new study confirms the presence of three separate sub-groups and suggests the existence of a fourth group in western Asia. According to the authors, the size of the Neanderthal population was not constant over time and a certain amount of migration occurred among the sub-groups. The variability among the Neanderthal population is interpreted to be an indirect consequence of the particular climatic conditions on their territorial extension during the entire middle Pleistocene time period.
The article is published in the Public Library of Science here. Independent research by myself and others has also suggested this. Neandertals such as Gibraltar and Monte Circeo, from Italy show less "cold adapted" traits than northern European Neandertals. The faces are a bit smaller and less prognathic, the result of which was that they were closer to modern humans in morphology than their northern counterparts.

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