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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Neanderthals: More Widespread Than We Thought

Recent research findings now suggest that the Neanderthal, the hominin that made its home primarily in certain localities in Europe before the advent of modern Homo Sapiens in the region some 40,000 to 30,000 years ago, was not so local after all. Study of a human femur fragment found in a cave in France in 2002 identifies it as that of Neanderthal, and that the shape of the fragment and testing of its mitochondrial DNA show that this specimen, which lived during the Middle Paleolithic, was much more mobile with a larger territory of habitation than is usually associated with Neanderthals during this period of time. Up to this point, scientists have attributed the greater mobility and larger territorial habitation to the behavioral changes and adaptations that accompanied the Homo Sapiens (Cro-Magnons).

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