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Processes in Human EvolutionThe journey from early hominins to Neandertals and Modern Humans$
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Francisco J. Ayala and Camilo J. Cela-Conde

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739906

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198739906.001.0001

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Neanderthals and modern humans

Neanderthals and modern humans

similarities and differences

(p.441) Chapter 11 Neanderthals and modern humans
Processes in Human Evolution

Francisco J. Ayala

Camilo J. Cela-Conde

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the similarities and differences between Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens, by considering genetic, brain, and cognitive evidence. The genetic differentiation emerges from fossil genetic evidence obtained first from mtDNA and later from nuclear DNA. With high throughput whole genome sequencing, sequences have been obtained from the Denisova Cave (Siberia) fossils. Nuclear DNA of a third species (“Denisovans”) has been obtained from the same cave and used to define the phylogenetic relationships among the three species during the Upper Palaeolithic. Archaeological comparisons make it possible to advance a four-mode model of the evolution of symbolism. Neanderthals and modern humans would share a “modern mind” as defined up to Symbolic Mode 3. Whether the Neanderthals reached symbolic Mode 4 remains unsettled.

Keywords:   Neanderthals, modern humans, mtDNA, nuclear DNA, symbolic mode, modern mind

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