Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A nice picture

I found a rather nice sketch of the controversial Neandertal fossil La Chapelle aux Saintes.  You know, the one who was all crippled up with arthritis, had almost no teeth, and the earliest photos of the fossil(taken at the time it was discovered) show an obviously buried person. 

 

Here is the sketch:

 

4298365396_37d6bfc95e As you can see, he doesn't look all that different from people you and I have known.  Or the differences, such as they are, are decidedly subtle.  But you can all judge for yourselves, I think.  Reconstructions of early humans often follows the conceptions or preconceptions of the reconstructors.

I

would really like to Dr. John Hawks and his blog for this.  Dr. Hawks is obviously rather multitalented.

 

Thanks again,

Anne G

10 comments:

terryt said...

Looks like my father, although he never let his hair grow as long or as untidy as that.

Anne Gilbert said...

terryt:

It doesn't look like anybody in my family, but I've met some old men who look kind of like that(their hair wasn't as untidy, but then, I think N's may have at least tried to keep their hair tidy, if not short).
anne G

Mirella Sichirollo Patzer said...

Thanks for leaving that wonderful comment on my blog. It's so true and thanks for correcting me on the hunting vs the harvesting of meat. You have such a wonderful repertoire of knowledge of the medieval era.

Have a great week, Anne. Hugs for visiting my blog.

Anne Gilbert said...

Mirella:

And thanks for being so kind as to visit my blog! I really don't feel knowledgeable about the medieval period at all, "corrections" or no corrections. My background is anthropology, and that's kind of the way I look at the medieval area, as a society both different, and "like" our own in many ways!
Anne G

Jen Black said...

Most things I've read say Neanderthals had pronounced brow ridges etc etc. This man could be alive today!
Jen

Anne Gilbert said...

Jen, your comment is absolutely, unutterably weird. Don't worry, it's weird in a nice way. You see, there was a time some years ago, when I was doing background research on part of my book(which wasn't quite the same as what I'm writing now). Because of thi, I ended up bmoseing in contact for a time with a biological anthropologist who has spent years studying Neandertals in relation to "modern" people. He declared that La Chapelle aux Saintes, on whom this sketch is based, actually had less developed browridges and a less "sloping" forehead than most, or earlier, Neandertals! And long before anybody else discovered that Neandertals had MC1R genes similar to those of "modern" humans, he proposed that N's had light hair, skin, and eyes! It was from this kind of information that I created some red-haired and blond, Neandertals, with light eyes. Years later, a German research institute found that, yes indeed, at least some Neandertals had red hair, light skin, and light eyes. By that time, I had worked all this into my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece With Neandertals. . . Make of this what you will.

terryt said...

I haven't got a digital photograph of my father but I noticed tonight on the TV news that the present leader of the opposition looks quite a bit like the drawing:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/NewZealand_PhilGoff_01.jpg

"he proposed that N's had light hair, skin, and eyes"

I've firmly believed that for some years. The vitamin D theory doesn't really stand up. And many species in the region Neanderthals evolved are white in Winter and brown in Summer, so why not Neanderthals? After all They'd be subject to the same environmental conditions.

Anne Gilbert said...

terryt:

Frst of all, if you're referring to things like arctic hares, snowshoe hares, or certain mustelids(members of the weasel family), we are "hominins", not lagomorphs or mustelids. We don't have visible external hair over most of our bodies, unlike these creatures, both of whom need that hair for warmth and also for camouflage against predators(or to make it easier to catch prey). Neandertals seem to have had some kind of clothing, and were probably not "fur covered", despite the attempts by some people to portray them that way. The same biological anthropologist I referred to, also seemed to think light skin, hair, and eyes in that climate were adaptive, and that they probably got enough vitamin D in the warmer months to satisfy their bodies needs. It's also possible that Neandertals livingin in places like Israel or Iraq had darker skins, hair, and eyes. There's no way of knowing. However, if you're referring to the possibility of getting "tanned" in the summer, yeah, I think that is or was perfectly possible for most Neandertals. . . .
Anne G

terryt said...

"It's also possible that Neandertals livingin in places like Israel or Iraq had darker skins, hair, and eyes".

I'm fairly sure they would have, and in Spain.

"We don't have visible external hair over most of our bodies, unlike these creatures"

You don't have to have hair to change colour. Some birds manage quite well with feathers. And I doubt that H. erectus left Africa with clothing. Tasmanian Aborigines had virtually no clothing yet early Europeans talk of then walking round in the snow. So skin colour variation in humans may go back a long way.

Anne Gilbert said...

terryt:

If you're referring to skin darkening in the sun in the warmer months, then going pale in the winter, I would more or less agree with you. But(a) it's nto for camouflage and (b) while it's analogous in some ways to, say, arctic ptarmigans turning white in the winter, it's not the same. Besides, there is some pretty abundant evidence, in the shape of things like scraper tools, that suggest Neandertals wore some kind of clothing(however crude it might have been). Bottom line: we're not designed by evolution to cyclically change color, unlike some mammals and birds.
Anne G