Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 19, 2012
Unique arm morphology in Neandertals was likely caused by scraping activities such as hide preparation, not spear thrusting as previously theorized, according to research published July 18 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
The researchers, led by Colin Shaw of the University of Cambridge, took muscle measurements of modern men performing three different spear thrusting tasks and four different scraping tasks.
They found that muscle activity was significantly higher on the left side of the body for spear thrusting tasks relative to the right side of the body.
This does not explain the observed Neandertal morphology, though, which shows dominant strength on the right side, casting doubt on the hypothesis that spear thrusting was responsible for the observed asymmetry.
When the study participants performed scraping tasks, however, the activity was much higher on their right side compared to their left, suggesting that scraping behavior may be the actual source of the arm morphology asymmetry and offering interesting insight into Neandertal behavior.
Shaw explains, "The skeletal remains of Neandertals suggests that they were doing something intense or repetitive, or both, that significantly impacted their lives. While hunting was important to Neandertals, our research suggests that much of their time was spent performing other tasks, such as preparing the skins of large animals. If we are right, it changes our picture of the daily activities of Neandertals."
Shaw CN, Hofmann CL, Petraglia MD, Stock JT, Gottschall JS (2012) Neandertal Humeri May Reflect Adaptation to Scraping Tasks, but Not Spear Thrusting. PLoS ONE 7(7): e40349. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040349
Public Library of Science
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|