Lack of projectile weapons might have lead to Neanderthals extinctionJanuary 15th, 2009 - 2:18 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Jan 15 (ANI): A trio of new studies on prehistoric weapons has suggested that though the Neanderthals made sophisticated weapons and tools, they lacked the projectile weapons possessed by early humans, which probably contributed to their eventual extinction.
According to a report in Discovery News, the missing technology, along with climate change and competition with arrow-shooting humans, may have played a part in their die off.
While we are not suggesting that modern humans were directing projectile weapons against Neanderthals, it is certainly possible that at times they did so, said Steven Churchill, co-author of one of the research papers.
Churchill, an associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University, and colleague Jill Rhodes compared Neanderthal fossils with those of prehistoric and modern humans, focusing on the shoulder and elbow.
When engaged in overhead throwing activity, such as throwing a baseball, or a spear, this increases the movement arm of the muscles and gives greater strength and velocity to the throw, said Rhodes, a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Bryn Mawr College.
She explained to Discovery News that modern athletes, like baseball pitchers and handball players, often show a characteristic backward displacement at the shoulder joint.
Usually just one joint shows this, since most people have a preferred throwing arm.
The anthropologists found this telltale skeletal characteristic in the early modern European fossils, but not in the Neanderthals.
Neanderthals probably hand threw spears over short distances, but perhaps they simply never got around to inventing means of propelling spears or other projectiles long distances, said Churchill.
Or perhaps their short, squat body build with short and massive limbs was not conducive to using throwing-based hunting technology, he added. (ANI)
- Stone Age humans may have stoned Neanderthals to death - Nov 21, 2008
- Modern humans might have attacked, killed, and driven Neanderthals to extinction - Jan 08, 2010
- Neanderthal males had Popeye-like arms - Jul 07, 2010
- Neanderthal man's murder may be a possible case of interspecies homicide - Jul 21, 2009
- Human species could have killed Neanderthal man - Jul 21, 2009
- New study suggests earliest humans were not very different from us - Feb 15, 2011
- Neanderthals matured faster, died younger: Study - Nov 16, 2010
- Right-handedness prevailed even in prehistoric humans - Apr 20, 2011
- Neanderthal burial ground suggests they practiced funeral rituals - Apr 21, 2011
- Differences in human and Neanderthal brains set in first year of life - Nov 09, 2010
- Neanderthals, modern humans 'are more brothers than distant cousins' - Sep 26, 2010
- Human childhood considerably longer than chimps: Study - Nov 16, 2010
- Neanderthals developed technology on their own - Sep 22, 2010
- Prehistoric humans ate each other: Study - Dec 14, 2010
- 30,000-yr-old finger bone found in Siberia is from 'mystery human relative' - Dec 23, 2010
Tags: anthropologists, baseball pitchers, bryn mawr college, climate change, co author, discovery news, duke university, early humans, eventual extinction, evolutionary anthropology, fossils, handball players, long distances, neanderthals, projectile weapons, projectiles, shoulder joint, sophisticated weapons, steven churchill, throwing a baseball