The (PTC) Bitter Taste Test: Does it Apply To Neanderthals?

The PTC test is well known to the point of annoyance. Practically, every biological anthropology class I ever had mentioned it, as did a number of the cultural anthropology. A new article in Biology Letters – requires a subscription puts a new spin on the question.

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Were Neandertals Cannibalized By Anatomically Modern Humans?

And can you really call it cannibalism if they are not Homo sapiens neanderthalensis? The lemur/adapid/anthropoid paper is not the only anthropology paper out this week, nor is it the only one that has been the subject of over exuberant reporting. The gist of the story is that the jaw below contains cutmarks:

The jaw may also be a Neanderthal jaw associated with an Aurignacian site. I don’t have much to say about it it other than the few articles I saw played up the cannibalism. Really, I just wanted an excuse to post the picture, but if you want to know more you can go read Hawks. I’ll have a post up on the adapid story sometime in the next couple of days.

Neanderthals and Marine Resources

As both Kambiz and Hawks have mentioned, a new paper is out in PNAS on the subject of Neanderthal exploitation of marine resources (something I touch on here).

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Neanderthals, Brain Size, and Maturation

There is a new paper coming out in PNAS called Neanderthal brain size at birth provides insights into the evolution of human life history (wouldn’t you know it is not open access, so if anybody out there has access can you mail me a copy) that argues Neanderthals grew quickly but reached maturity later. The high growth rates placed greater demands on Neanderthal women and ultimately increased interbirth intervals. Consequently, they were out competed by anatomically modern Homo sapiens who had a shorter birth intervals, etc.

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Skull Fragments: A Frontal From Mongolia

It was published last month in C. R. Palevol 7 (2008) 51-60.

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Neanderthal Children And Flintknapping

Julien Riel-Salvatore over at A Very Remote Period Indeed has a thoughtful and thought provoking follow up to my recent post on Neanderthal children and flintknapping. Here is a small taste to tide you over till you get there:

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Finding Neanderthal Children In the Archaeological Record: Is There A Subconcious Bias?

PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Northwest Europe has an interesting article on toolmaking by Neanderthal children (see here for my previous post on the subject of children in the archaeological record). The article makes extensive use of research by Phillip Shelley, especially this article (if someone out there has access I would appreciate it if you could email me a copy).

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