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Manga Girls Beware: Extra Large Eyes Caused Neanderthal's Demise 290

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the four-eyes-stays-alive dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports on a new study of prehistoric skulls which suggests that Neanderthals became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species. As a consequence of having extra sized eyes, an average 6 millimeters larger in radius, more of their backside brain volume was devoted to seeing, at the expense of frontal lobe high-level processing of information and emotions. This difference affected their ability to innovate and socialize the way we, modern people (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) do. When the last Ice Age set on 28,000 years ago, Neanderthals had no sewn clothes and no large organized groups to rely on each other, hastening their fall. Yet, they were not stupid, brutish creatures as portrayed in Hollywood films, they were very, very smart, but not quite in the same league as the Homo Sapiens of Cromagnon."
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Manga Girls Beware: Extra Large Eyes Caused Neanderthal's Demise

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  • Breeding (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @09:53AM (#43158863)

    They were bred out - this has been shown by DNA analysis. Early homo sapiens bred with them, and the homo sapiens traits were more effective.

  • Re:Idle speculation (Score:5, Informative)

    by theVarangian (1948970) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:06AM (#43158993)

    Homo Sapiens seems quite "stupid and brutish" most of the time. Just saying.

    Actually, even when compared to our closest relatives the great apes, humans get along remarkably well. The frequency of violence in human communities is remarkably low compared to many other species. Chimpls for example have have rates of aggression between two and three orders of magnitude higher than humans. [springer.com].

  • Re:Idle speculation (Score:5, Informative)

    by glebovitz (202712) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:12AM (#43159047) Journal

    There are some theories that the Neanderthals were actually quite smart, compassionate, and had a sophisticated social system. This is based on burial sites that indicated that they took care of the elderly. Some evidence points to a myth that Neanderthals were hunched over and ape like. It is also interesting that, except for some groups in Africa, most people have traces of Neanderthal DNA indicating that Neanderthals didn't die out, but were interbred with and absorbed into other populations.

    I found this story on NPR that talks about one interesting speculation on how this may have happened.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/03/08/173813194/what-happened-when-humans-met-an-alien-intelligence-sex-happened [npr.org]

  • Re:Idle speculation (Score:5, Informative)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:39AM (#43159341)
    Wikipedia disagrees with you on (adult) eyes varying so much in size...

    Dimensions See also: mammalian eye The dimensions differ among adults by only one or two millimeters. The vertical measure, generally less than the horizontal distance, is about 24 mm among adults, at birth about 16–17 millimeters (about 0.65 inch). The eyeball grows rapidly, increasing to 22.5–23 mm (approx. 0.89 in) by three years of age. By age 13, the eye attains its full size. The typical adult eye has an anterior to posterior diameter of 24 millimeters, a volume of six cubic centimeters (0.4 cu. in.),[3] and a mass of 7.5 grams (weight of 0.25 oz.).[citation needed]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_eye [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Idle speculation (Score:5, Informative)

    by tibit (1762298) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @12:08PM (#43160317)

    There are good reasons for that. The eye's diameter's square affects the eye's surface area. The surface area pretty much determines how fast our eyes can move -- our eye's performance is limited by the drag of the tear film. There's no room to grow larger eye muscles to compensate for it. One must remember that in the fast (saccadic) motions of the eyes, the viscous drag is "the" term that matters. The inertia can be ignored. Our eyes would move the same even if they were made of a material 10x as dense as water.

    Remember: we're blind during a saccade - as the image blurs on the retina, it is suppressed. Fast saccades are a useful thing to have :)

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