Neanderthals less 'creative' than humans
November 8th, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Neanderthals less 'creative' than humans

We recently learned Ozzy Osbourne apparently has some genetic traces of Neanderthal in him, and now scientists are finding out even more about this extinct human relative.

The modern human brain and the Neanderthal brain began at about the same size at birth, but their skulls show that they began developing very differently within the first year of life, scientists say.

Neanderthals evolved more than 400,000 years ago, lived as hunter-gatherers in Europe and Asia, and went extinct about 30,000 years ago.

Judging by the archaeological record, Neanderthals were well-adapted to their particular environment, but they were not as creative in terms of hunting strategies or artwork – for example, they apparently did not make cave paintings the way their human contemporaries did.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology scanned Neanderthals skulls and compared them with modern human skulls. Their results are published in the journal Current Biology.

Subtle changes in the early phases of brain development can have a huge impact on social cognition, communication, and how creative members of a species are, said study author Philipp Gunz of the  Planck Institute.

The pattern of brain development described in the study may point to a diminished inclination to communicate through art, and possibly also help explain why modern humans had advantages over Neanderthals, he said.

"If you are an artist you have to understand symbols, you have to understand meaning, you have to look at the world in the certain way, and it seems that Neanderthals, for 200,000 years, didn’t feel like it," Gunz said.

Modern humans had a higher reproduction rate, and were more flexible in terms of their hunting strategies, he said.

But before we feel too good about ourselves, remember that Neanderthals actually roamed the Earth longer than our own species, Homo sapiens.

"It's not like we can look down on them. We haven't made it that far yet," Gunz said. "Their extinction, I would say, is not a direct consequence of this particular brain development pattern." But the cognitive differences may explain biologically why modern humans showed this creativity and flexibility in their behavior, he said.

Neanderthals had difficult living conditions, inhabiting Europe during the most recent Ice Age. In fact, for most of their time as a species, Neanderthals were on the border of extinction, Gunz said. They ate meat and hunted, and were probably social people who could communicate.

Back when humans and Neanderthals both lived in Europe, population density was low; there were only about 100,000 people on the continent, Gunz said. The first interactions between Neanderthals and humans could have occurred when both species were in the Middle East about 90,000 years ago or less, he said.

It's not certain if there was conflict or harmony between the two species, but there was most likely some interaction and interbreeding. A paper in May in the journal Science estimated that 1 to 4 percent of the modern human genome of non-Africans can be traced back to the Neanderthal

As scientists continue to study the Neanderthal genome, they will learn even more about this creature that seems to have something in common with many of us, not just Ozzy.

Photo: a representation of Neanderthals at the Museum for Prehistory in Eyzies-de-Tayac, France.

soundoff (1,065 Responses)
  1. EncoxGtv

    reliable canadian online pharmacies cialis at canadian pharmacy canadian-pharmacy-24h.com

    June 7, 2021 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. mattress repair service

    This excellent website truly has all of the information I wanted concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 8, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Service

    I blog frequently and I truly thank you for your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too.


    June 8, 2021 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. esurance rv

    Hello there! This blog post couldnít be written any better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this article to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a great read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    June 8, 2021 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Alignment Orange County

    Howdy! This blog post could not be written any better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this information to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


    June 8, 2021 at 01:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. EncoxAni

    Frumil online pharmacy in germany safe online pharmacy

    June 8, 2021 at 04:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. EncoxDev

    med rx pharmacy pricing of prescription drugs canadian international pharmacy association

    June 8, 2021 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Home Page

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.


    June 8, 2021 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. EncoxAni

    Levitra Professional legit online pharmacy hydrocodone vet pharmacy online

    June 8, 2021 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv mattresses near me

    Hello there! I simply would like to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.


    June 8, 2021 at 21:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. fiberglass repair near me

    I blog often and I really appreciate your information. This article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.


    June 8, 2021 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Shower Orange County


    June 8, 2021 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. trailer repair nearby


    June 9, 2021 at 00:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Content Marketing Companies

    This is the right webpage for anyone who hopes to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic that has been written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just great!


    June 9, 2021 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Zisseloh

    herbal form of cialis generic cialis when cost of 20mg cialis at walgreens

    June 9, 2021 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Darryl Tangaro

    Hello there! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after looking at many of the articles I realized itís new to me. Nonetheless, Iím definitely pleased I found it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!


    June 9, 2021 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Dominique Obenshain


    June 9, 2021 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Alejandro Bigelow

    Very good post. I am experiencing a few of these issues as well..


    June 9, 2021 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. MileSwa

    cialis daily online cialis® viagraorcialis

    June 9, 2021 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Internet Marketing Agency


    June 9, 2021 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Claud Driedric


    June 10, 2021 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Bethany Jaap

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I donít understand why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having the same RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    June 10, 2021 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. rv repair service near me


    June 10, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Merri Knauss


    June 10, 2021 at 04:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. EncoxHtf

    cialis buy australia online cialis in uk cialis on line paypal payment

    June 10, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Jose Gendernalik

    I need to to thank you for this great read!! I certainly loved every bit of it. I have you book-marked to look at new things you postÖ


    June 10, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Chae Ship


    June 10, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. rv repair near me


    June 10, 2021 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Yuk Weinfeld

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this site. I'm hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉

    June 10, 2021 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Federico Arico

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of the site is also really good.

    June 10, 2021 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Natashia Barrile

    Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this amazing site needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the info!


    June 10, 2021 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv repair near me now

    Excellent post! We will be linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    June 10, 2021 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Margarita Harvard

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Cheers!

    June 10, 2021 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Windy Dydo


    June 11, 2021 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Theresia Fahning


    June 11, 2021 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Angelika Zawistowski


    June 11, 2021 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. near me


    June 11, 2021 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. orange county car upholstery


    June 11, 2021 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Parts Orange County


    June 11, 2021 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Van Paint Shop

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and also the rest of the site is really good.


    June 11, 2021 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Turbo Actuator Repair


    June 11, 2021 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. 2006 Sprinter Fuel Pump Repair


    June 11, 2021 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. cabinet repair service near me


    June 11, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. rv glass repair near me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 12, 2021 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Batteries California

    Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a great articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.


    June 12, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Van Alignment Shop Near Me

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the most useful sites on the web. I will recommend this website!


    June 12, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Sprinter Van Windshield Replacement

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the finest websites on the internet. I'm going to highly recommend this blog!


    June 12, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Van Repair


    June 12, 2021 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Zisseloh

    generic cialis release date cialis soft tabs canada que es mejor viagra o cialis

    June 12, 2021 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. flooring near me


    June 12, 2021 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Leave a Reply to escorts near me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.