by David Coppedge

The differences between Neanderthals and modern humans were not due to evolution for bigger brains or anything of the sort. They were due to genetic drift, says an article on LiveScience. The article states up front,

A team of anthropologists has compared measurements of Neanderthal skulls to modern human skulls, and argues that most variations among them are the result of random changes that occur over time, and not of adaptations driven by natural selection.

Don’t chalk up the differences in modern humans to bigger brains, better eyesight, better noses, or better ability to survive and reproduce. That’s the assertion of Tim Weaver and a team from University of California, Davis. The article says, “This finding may contradict a common belief that humans won out over Neanderthals because they acquired helpful physical changes in their skulls.”

Erik Trinkaus, anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, agrees.

“When we look at the archaeology, there’s essentially no difference in their implied social sophistication,” he said. “They use the same kinds of tools, they’re all burying their dead, they’re all using body decorations of some form or another. They were equally effective at hunting animals.  In anything that we can measure, there’s very little difference between Neanderthal and modern humans 50,000 to 100,000 years ago.”

Trinkaus said the reason modern humans flourished and Neanderthals didn’t may have just been luck….

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