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Rants: Who Killed the Neanderthals?

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September 13, 2011

02:10

When you're the new kid in town, it can be hard to make new friends. Especially if you're as socially awkward as our ancient human ancestors. Gangly limbs, horrendous grammar, and of course, that embarrassing habit of sticking spears into people.  How's a hominid supposed to catch a break? 

Maybe next time the Neanderthals should be a little more open-minded to our concept of friendship. After all, there's nothing like a friendly game of spear-catch to get the conversational juices flowing. Don't be so stuck up, Neanderthals.

Host: Brit Trogen

Photo credits: Impact Lab, Luscher.org, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Fernando Rozzi, Les Todd, Natural History Museum, University of London

References:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090722-human-neanderthal-murder.html

http://discovermagazine.com/2009/nov/30-did-we-mate-with-neanderthals-or-murder-them

http://www.livescience.com/history/etc/090517-humans-ate-neanderthals-scientist-says.html

http://www.physorg.com/news161876049.html

YOUR COMMENTS

Suzanne Tessier on May 18, 2010
nice job of bringing interesting subject matter to all viewers... I really hope you grow strong in numbers (viewers), for certain... conversation and interesting topics are fun and lively... vs. a generation that is tuning out and opting for texting. Anyway...i always feel just a little more informed after viewing SS. Bravo!!
Jeff Jordan on May 21, 2010
I really enjoyed your presentation on neandrethals. However,my wife and I are having an argument(purhaps to stong a word) on the correct pronuncition of the word neandrethal.I read somewhere(can't remember where)that it is pronunced neanderTALL and not THAL as you pronunced it. Could you please help us with this argument. I really need to be right.Thank YOU .
Torah Kachur May 21, 2010
It's a toss-up.... But, you are right :)

Neanderthal is definitely the most common popular science pronunciation, but most of the anthropology community says NeanderTALL. Although there are certainly lots who don't want to change their ways.

So - Jeff - Science in Seconds weighs in and NeanderTALL comes out the winner. (Although you just might want to give her a 25% cut for being partially right)
Brit Trogen May 21, 2010
My thoughts on the matter... Either pronunciation is generally accepted, and while the rule Torah mentioned generally holds true, many paleontologists are known to pronounce the name either way. The region in Germany that led to the creation of the name Neanderthal, and the scientific name Homo neanderthalensis (or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, if we decide they're truly a sub-species) was officially changed to Neandertal in the 1900's, but since scientific names aren't subject to the whims of local governments, this shouldn't really affect the way we view the spelling of the original scientific name. As for pronunciation, it still seems like a matter of personal preference. The Germans probably would have said it with a hard "T," but we Anglos tend to say things as we see them. I simply prefer "thal."
magoo on July 06, 2010
shut up know-it-all.You did a mistake,it's not the end of the world.
Renzo on May 15, 2011
you shut up magoo.... and quit trying to dumb down the world to be just like you. let a little knowledge in. it will go a long way for you.

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