Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Maybe it's because this is a CNN sum-up of the real article, but this article doesn't show any causality between larger brains and interbreeding with Neanderthals.
This article says that a scientific team from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Chicago claims that a certain allele causes larger brains and that it developed in humans just before Neanderthals died out. Therefore humans and Neanderthals interbred.
1. Neanderthals did have LARGER brains than modern humans. We assume their brains must have been less efficient.
2. The article even explains that it isn't clear if this causes brains to be larger. It postulates that allele D may only make brains more efficient. 1+2 is not equaling 3 here.
3. It has been shown through mitochondrial DNA that Neanderthals did NOT interbreed with humans while they were cohabitating Europe.
So circumstantial evidence is going to topple DNA evidence? I don't think so.
I expected more from the U of Chicago, but hey, they couldn't even be bothered to do the math for their USNews ranking.