People Walking

Neanderthals had human spines, according to ScienceDaily 25 February 2019 and PNAS 25 February 2019, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820745116.

Researchers at the University of Zurich have used high resolution 3D scans to study an almost complete skeleton found in La Chapelle-aux-Saints in France in the early 20th century.

Neanderthals have traditionally been shown has having a stooped posture, without the double curvature of the spine that balances the human body in a fully upright position for efficient standing and walking. The ‘stooped posture’ was based on the reconstruction of the La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 skeleton, in spite of the fact that the skeleton was clearly of an elderly man who suffered from osteoarthritis. Since then many more Neanderthal bones have been found, and since the 1950s scientists have recognised that Neanderthals were fully upright.

However, some scientists have used recent studies of a few isolated bones to claim Neanderthals lacked a fully developed double curved spine. According to the University of Zurich scientists, “These studies form part of a persistent trend to view the Neanderthals as less ‘human’ than ourselves despite growing evidence for little if any differences in basic functional anatomy and behavioural capabilities.”

The new reconstruction takes into account the known changes that occur in human bones and joints with arthritis, and also analysed the pattern of wear on the sacrum and hip joints, which gives a good indication of how the weight is distributed through the pelvis and legs when standing and walking. They concluded “La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 is joined by other Neanderthals with sufficient vertebral remains in providing them with a fully upright (and human) axial posture”. (Item in brackets in original)

According to Martin Haeusler, who led the study, “On the whole, there is hardly any evidence that would point to Neanderthals having a fundamentally different anatomy.” The research team also wrote: “It is therefore time to move beyond making Neanderthals less human and focus on the subtle shifts in Late Pleistocene human biology and behaviour.”


Editorial Comment: These researchers are correct – it is time to reject the idea that Neanderthals were anything other than human beings. This new study is another of many modern studies that confirm that Neanderthals were fully human. Neanderthals were just ordinary human beings living in harsh conditions, which affected their bone structure, but did not make them less than human.

It is always good to remember the term Neanderthal does not mean primitive. It refers to a place – the Neander Valley, in present day Germany, where the first Neanderthal bones were found. Their ancestors were not apes or hominids, any more than ours were. Like people living on earth today, Neanderthals were descendants of people who left the Tower of Babel after God’s judgement on the rebellious descendants of Noah’s family. All studies of their bones, their tools, artefacts, and living spaces reveal them to be intelligent, resourceful people who made the most of a tough life in the post-Flood Ice Age.

For more information see the question: NEANDERTHALS? What were these? How do you explain their existence? Answer here.

Evidence News vol. 19, No. 3
13 March 2019
Creation Research Australia

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