Neanderthal Dexterity Gets Thumbs Up

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Neanderthal dexterity gets thumbs up from anthropologists and computer models, as reported in Nature, vol. 422, p395, 27 Mar 2003. Anthropologist Wesley Niewoehner of California State University and a team from Archaeology Technology Lab, North Dakota State University produced three dimensional computer models of the La Ferrassie I Neanderthal thumb and index finger bones and tested them to see if a Neanderthal hand could produce the same precision grip that enables living humans to make and manipulate objects. They concluded "As there is no significant difference between Neanderthals and modern humans in the locations of their muscle and ligamentous attachment there remains no anatomical argument that precludes modern-human-like movement of thumb and index finger in Neanderthals."

Editorial Comment: This is further evidence that Neanderthals were as human as we are. When bones were first found in the mid 1800's the leading pathologist of the time, Rudolph Virchow, said Neanderthal bones were from a human who had suffered from bone disease. It was only after evolution became popular that anthropologists claimed Neanderthals were primitive creatures that had not yet evolved full humanity. Many Neanderthal remains are found in mountainous regions of Europe where an inadequate diet and lack of sunlight led to Vitamin D deficiency, weakness of the bones, and arthritic deformity. They were human beings who suffered from the rapid degeneration of climate and food that came upon those who left the Tower of Babel and had to survive the new harsh colder environments, first mentioned in the book of Job (616). (Ref. Neanderthal, hand, bones)

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