Evolution and humans: Neanderthal brain difference (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 13, 2021, 15:35 (1156 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: Neanderthals are archaic humans that lived from 500,000 years ago to about 11,700 years ago, interbreeding with our species, Homo sapiens, for much of that time. Their brains were about as big as ours, but anthropologists think they must have worked incredibly differently, because in those hundreds of thousands of years, Neanderthals never achieved the sophisticated technology and artistry humans have.

dhw: I find this a bit confusing. Neanderthals WERE humans, and recent discoveries suggested that they WERE sophisticated, and since they interbred for much of that time, how can we attribute their sophistication to just one of the two species of humans? Have I misunderstood something here? But of course neither the Neanderthals nor the sapiens of that time achieved the sophisticated technology and artistry of modern humans.

You are right. It is unfair to compare modern human achievements to Neanderthals of many thousands of years ago.

DAVID: Of course there had to be differences, but the key statement to me is that only 61 genes make the whole difference between us and Neanderthal/Denisovan brain structure. It didn't take much DNA change to create us. And I'd best repeat my form of dualism: these are the mechanical material brains that souls are given to use with the resulting differences in artifact production.

dhw: Why on earth do you have to bring your form of dualism into it? The whole thrust of this article is that the different genes (changes to DNA) were the cause of the greater sophistication in technology and art. The Neanderthal brain, not the Neanderthal soul, “worked incredibly differently”. Your theory is presumably that your God stepped in to fiddle with 61 genes in anticipation of the sapiens soul coming up with new ideas. If there is such a thing as the soul, I propose that it was the soul that came up with the ideas, and the brain had to change in order to implement them. Do we really have to go over all this again?

I did it because we are reviewing the material differences in brains but shouldn't ignore the
dualism inferences. Neanderthal dualism and human dualism must remain the same concepts. And from your response to it simply exposes our continuing differences. I didn't want the inference left that brains on their own created the differences in artifact production. I would remind you that Neanderthals died out well before we produced our current advanced civilization, but the article's inference is our brains were very different 315,000 years ago when we appeared, with those 61 genes, and long before our current productions. Sure looks like an anticipated-usage preparation.

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