April 29, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

Neanderthals Matured Faster

The news media are all echoing a story out of Nature April 291 that Neanderthals matured by age 15, as indicated by their teeth.  A News and Views article in the same issue by Jay Kelley2 begins, It is nearly 150 years since the existence of Neanderthals was first recognized, but debate about their relationship to modern humans remains as contentious as ever.”  The find is not necessarily indicative of a major difference between Neanderthals and modern humans, but “ should prove to be a fruitful line of research.”  Sample news media interpretations can be found at BBC News and paleoanthropology’s bulldog, National Geographic.


1Rossi and de Castro, “Surprisingly rapid growth in Neanderthals, ” Nature 428, 936 – 939 (29 April 2004); doi:10.1038/nature02428.
2Jay Kelley, “Paleoanthropology: Neanderthal teeth lined up,” Nature 428, 904 – 905 (29 April 2004); doi:10.1038/428904b.

You can’t infer the social evolution of humans from teeth.  Modern humans reach puberty before 15, so why shouldn’t there be variation in tooth maturation rates between varieties of humans?  This study is way too much interpretation on way too little data.  A “fruitful line of research” is code for “a new storytelling plot.”
    Evolutionists grasp at any hint that Neanderthals were a different species than us.  It’s a kind of historical racism.  Harrub and Thompson point out in a thick new book, The Truth About Human Origins (Apologetics Press 2004), p. 133, that at four fossil sites, Neanderthals and modern humans are found buried together.  The only way to build a Darwinian story out of that is to claim that modern humans buried their pet missing links with them.

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Categories: Dumb Ideas, Early Man

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