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Page 3

-- Neanderthal Bone Could Push Back Evolution of Complex Speech - 2/01/14
-- Neanderthals Made a Last Stand at Subarctic Outpost - 5/13/11
-- The Evolution of Neanderthals - 6/20/14
-- Neanderthals and humans diverged in stages - 6/19/14
-- First love child of human, Neanderthal believed found - 3/28/13
-- Neandertal trait in early human skull - 7/7/14
-- Dating between modern humans and Neandertals - 10/4/12
 
Page 4

-- Air Pollution Detected in 400,000-Year-Old Dental Plaque - 6/17/15
-- New Dates for Spainís Neanderthals - 2/05/13
-- Researchers Publish New Neanderthal Genome - 3/21/13
-- New Dates for Spainís Neanderthals - 2/05/13

Page 1

-- Volcanoes Killed Off Neanderthals, Study Suggests - 9/22/10
-- Neanderthals Made a Last Stand at Subarctic Outpost? - 5/13/11
-- All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal, Genetics Confirm - 7/18/11 (see page 2)
-- Neanderthal genes survive in us - 6/5/10
-- Neanderthals Hunted as Well as Humans, Study Says - 1/25/08
-- Neandertal Gene Study Reveals Early Split With Humans - 10/26/06
-- Bunch of Neanderthal stuff - various dates
--
Page 2

-- Hot Stew in the Ice Age? Evidence Shows Neanderthals Boiled Food
-- Bonanza of Skulls in 'Pit of Bones' Changes View of Neanderthals - 6/19/14
-- Euro Neanders on Verge of Extinction before arrival Modern Humans - 2/25/12
-- Doubts About Whether Modern Humans and Neanderthals Interbred - 8/13/12
-- Did Humans Mate With Neanderthals Or Not? - 8/15/12
-- Archaeologists Rediscover the Lost Home of the Last Neanderthals - 10/17/13
--

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This correspondence from Mr. Zach Zorich freelance journalist and contributing editor at Archaeology magazine archaeology.org. 

I was very pleased to have received this answer.  It confirms my suspicions that Neanderthals and previous presumed ancestors have been and are still being maligned out of prejudiced historical assumptions.  As far as is Ė known Ė all primates in our line might have had no more hair than humans do today.  Of course, there are modern humans with lots of facial and body hair as well as modern humans with no body hair.  I have also read that most humans have more hair that chimps and gorillas, but it is normally so fine it is not noticeable.  In any case, I wish illustrators would at least show them as clean and kempt.  We might take lessons from the Amazonian tribes who only recently were discovered, having only head hair and it is kept cut short.  Since Neanderthals have been around about 170,000 years one might presume they were not wild and ignorant; add to that that their DNA is found in most non-African modern humans I would think their women were found desirable, presumable as well as their men.

>>>>> original msg <<<<<

Dear Edward,

Your letter was forwarded to me. I do a lot of the articles on Neanderthals in Archaeology magazine, and I worked on a few Neanderthal sites back in the days when I made a living digging holes in the ground.

I think that there is a wide range of quality when it comes to Neanderthal reconstructions. Some of the early reconstructions were based on nothing more than the artists own preconceived notions. The most famous of these was commissioned by Marcellin Boule in 1908 (I think. Iím writing this from memory and I havenít double checked my facts). Boule's Neanderthal looks like an extremely hairy cross between an ape and a modern human. I donít think things got much more scientific until the last 30 years or so.

Now, there are several research teams that do Neanderthal reconstructions using the same methods that forensic detectives use to reconstruct the faces of murder victims. Victor Deak is one such artist. He has done reconstructions for the American Museum of Natural History in New York and other research institutions. Here is a link to a BBC article on a reconstruction of the La Ferrassie 1 Neanderthal from Southwest Franceó http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-19960748 . Unfortunately, that article doesnít go too deeply into how they actually did the work. Some of the reconstruction is based on the size of the muscle attachments on the Neanderthalís face. The muscle attachments give a clue as to how thick the flesh was in different places around the skull. My understanding is that reconstructing the soft tissues of the face even in a person who has been dead for months instead of 40,000 years requires some assumptions based on the personís ethnicity and whatever the statistically average distribution of soft tissues on the face for that ethnic group is. Of course, we donít have that information for Neanderthals. So there are some assumptions being made in these reconstructions.

Neanderthal hair has never been found. If anyone ever does find it, they will probably be able to get a very clean DNA sample from it. Hair does a great job of preserving DNA. One of the Neanderthal DNA sequences showed that they carried a gene for red hair, but it is different gene than the one that modern humans carry. As far as beards and body hair go, the skeletons donít provide any information about that. There might be some genetic evidence about facial and body hair, but I havenít seen that research.

I agree that Neanderthals and even earlier hominids were probably well groomed. All of the great apes are meticulous groomers, and there is no reason to believe that our ancestors were any different. Being well groomed is a basic requirement for finding a mate for many species. But, there is no positive evidence that this was the case, so the parsimonious interpretation is that they werenít grooming. Unfortunately, no one has found comb on Neanderthal site and until someone does you are going to see Neanderthals in museums looking like they have birdsí nests on their heads.

I hope that answers your question.

best, Zach

Zach Zorich
freelance journalist and
contributing editor at Archaeology magazine
archaeology.org


From: oghgul <oghgul@oghgul.com> on behalf of oghgul <oghgul@oghgul.com>
Date: Monday, January 9, 2017 at 7:23 PM
To: letters <letters@archaeology.org>
Subject: RE: Letters -- a question please


Is it true that reconstructions of Neanderthals based on fossils found, and being displayed with body hair and beards is only artistic assumptions and is done without scientific verification.

Has there ever been an instance where a Neanderthal fossil was found with hair attached to any part of the fossil.

Have caves found to have been inhabited by our presumed ancestry including Neanderthals, ever been located where water was not available within reasonable distance, considering the dangerous carnivores that must have also inhabited the area.

I ask because it seems that when recent ancestors are depicted in art or reconstructions they are often dirty, hairy and otherwise generally unkempt, I may be wrong but I donít think that would be the case of a well-settled tribe.


Edward G Ogle Sr
2706 Holly Ridge Dr
Orange Park, FL, 32073
E DEPLORIBUS UNUM

Zach Zorich
freelance journalist and
contributing editor at Nautilus magazine
nautil.us