Talk:Neanderthal

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February 16, 2005Peer reviewReviewed
edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Neanderthal:

  • Expand on the debate between Neanderthalensis as a separate species or sub-species of Homo sapiens
  • General Readability- In general, this article could focus initially on just how the Neanderthals were more robust physically and genealogically different from current Homo-sapiens.
  • Find peer-reviewed (etc.) source instead of current Reference #7 and remove current one.

Image showing comparison of Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis[edit]

I placed this image
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Comparison_of_Neanderthal_and_Homo_sapiens_(version_1).png
on the Neanderthal article and it has been removed by two editors. The reasons given were

  • Poorly photoshopped composite image
  • Two random artistic impressions not very demonstrative

Whilst I agree it is not the best image in terms of quality, I have been unable to find any comparable image on Wikimedia. I therefore suggest that in the absence of anything else it is better than nothing because

  • It has to be a random image as it is just an example of the two species not specific individuals
  • It shows how their statures and facial features differ slightly

I would be very interested to hear other people's thoughts on this matter. Thank you BrightOrion (talk) 06:46, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

If it is to be informative as a comparison, it can't just been two different artists' representations, which say a lot more about the artists and their assumptions than any comparison between the (sub)species. Both seem to be somewhat dated, so they are also reflecting old assumptions. Further, how can anyone make useful facial comparisons when in making the image, the Neanderthal face (indeed, the entire Neanderthal) has been stretched left-right? Whether accidental or intentional, this renders the comparison moot. (the spear has also been manipulated/truncated) The image simply isn't up to the task, and does not improve the article. Agricolae (talk) 14:09, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Fair points, Agricolae, and thanks for the feedback! I'd like to address some of the points you mentioned.
-Surely it has to be an artist's representation since there are no living Neanderthals now. The fact that it is two different artists shouldn't necessarily render the comparison invalid.
-The Neanderthal was accidentally stretched left-right. That has now been corrected.
-The spear was not the main element of the image, rather the point was to compare the anatomies. To get all the spear in, the Neanderthal and human would have had to have been smaller and thus harder to see. That is why it was truncated. The spears could even be deleted if required.
-I'm not sure about the age of the models. The Neanderthal photo was taken in 2012 and the Homo sapiens one in 2011, both taken at museums (Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann, Germany for the Neanderthal and Museum of Prehistory of the Gorges du Verdon in France for the human). So I would question automatically assuming they are outdated.
-Lastly, thank you for taking to time and effort to enter into this discussion here. I still believe an image showing Neanderthal and Homo sapiens together would be of interest to many, and educational. If ever an acceptable image of that becomes available, I would politely suggest adding it to the Neanderthal article.BrightOrion (talk) 14:56, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Of course you can't have them pose for photographs, but there are still problems with using artistic representations. Taking an extreme example, if you compare a picture of a woman by Dali with Picasso's picture of a man it tells you next to nothing about the actual differences and similarities between men and women. Given how views of hominins have changed over time, the comparison may tell you the 2010 view of one with the 1990 view of the other, and that is apples and oranges. Indeed, were you to align the archaic H.s.s. you used before with the archaic H.s.s. in your latest iteration, they would appear more different from each other than the H.s.s. vs. H.s.n. in the current image. The lack of consensus on how to represent either of these populations means you can make them look as similar or as different as you want, all by picking the work of a different artist/time. That makes any such comparison highly misleading, even if unintentionally so. Agricolae (talk) 21:12, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

This is not a timeline[edit]

Can we please not turn this article into a timeline of publications? I can't think of a single instance when the month of publication is the least bit relevant, and in most cases, the year isn't either (it is in the cited references if anybody cares) - it is the insight in the context of what else we know that is important. The end of the Anatomy section (and not just the end) is quickly turning into a list of research findings. Please take the time to incorporate the new findings into a coherent narrative rather than just adding each one in disjointed sequence to the bottom of the section. Agricolae (talk) 05:01, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

Pigmentation[edit]

The pigment of Neanderthals is not something that can be well defined based on the evidence at hand, and any definitive conclusions are problematic - the more we say, the more we have to contextualize that it isn't as definitive as it seems. Likewise, though, Neanderthal pigmentation simply does not merit four paragraphs and half of the entire Anatomy section. What we need is a very simple way of expressing what is known, tempered with some indication of the uncertainty it entails, without a full exposition on pigmentation - and it needs to be based on sources, not personal opinion or expertise. Agricolae (talk) 19:26, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Revision of the trinomal name[edit]

Since the bar that shows hominid evolution includes Neanderthals as a subsection of Heidelberg man, should Neanderthals be classified as Homo heidelbergensis neanderthalensis?137.118.102.246 (talk) 01:10, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

Not really. The better question is if Neanderthal is a subspecies of Homo sapiens, shouldn't it also be Homo sapiens heidelbergensis? Anyhow, nothing on Wikipedia is what 'should' be. All that matters is what has been published in reliable sources - find one that calls them this and we will have something to talk about. Agricolae (talk) 01:58, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
Funny. They used to call them Homo sapiens heidelbergensis until several years ago.137.118.102.246 (talk) 18:40, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
This is a pendulum that swings back and forth regarding Neanderthal too. They are diseased humans so H.s. (swing) No, they are not diseased and are enough different to be a distinct species, so H.n. (swing) Although they did art and buried relatives, clearly human behavior, so really just H.s.n. (swing) Yet again, humans have no Neanderthal mtDNA, so they couldn't interbreed: H.n. (swing) But wait, there's more: genomic DNA shows they did interbreed, so H.s.n. (swing) But then again, they didn't interbreed very much and other clearly-distinct species also have introgressed DNA, so H.n.(ish). I am sure we haven't seen the last of it. I think it would take a special kind of hair splitting to say that Neanderthal are close enough to Heidelberg that they are the same species, but enough different from AMH to be different species - but a special kind of hair-splitting is exactly what taxonomists do. Agricolae (talk) 20:42, 2 May 2019 (UTC)