Neanderthals and modern humans independently evolved to have noses optimised for breathing in cold and dry air in Eurasia

Mail Online | 10/30/2017 | Shivali Best For Mailonline
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Researchers have compared the noses of Neanderthals with modern humans for the first time, helping to shed new light on our mysterious cousins.

While the skeletal shape of our noses differs hugely to those of Neanderthals, researchers found similarities in the inner structure.

Findings - Environments - Groups - Noses - Conditions

Their findings suggest that when living in cold and dry environments, both groups independently evolved to have noses to help them breathe in these conditions.

Researchers from the Centro Nacional Patagónico in Chubut, Argentina were interested to see how the noses of Neanderthals and modern humans compared.

Neanderthals - Humans - Cold - Environments

Both Neanderthals and modern humans settled in cold, dry Eurasian environments.

This development may have required adaptations in internal nasal anatomy that helped to warm and humidify air before it reached the lungs.

Lack - Evidence - Neanderthal - Fossil - Record

But until now, a lack of soft-tissue evidence in the Neanderthal fossil record has made confirming this idea challenging.

In the study, the researchers analysed the noses of 38 Argentinians – 26 of Southwestern European (SWE) ancestry, and 12 recent Northeastern Asian (NEA) migrants.

Noses - Neanderthal - Skulls - Years - Years

They compared these to the noses from two Neanderthal skulls – one estimated to be between 70,000 and 50,000 years old, and a second dated to around 60,000 years old.

Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Rolando Gonzalez-Jose, a co-author of the study, said: 'In terms of skeletal shape, the skull in general, and the nose in particular, present important differences.

Noses - Populations - Climates

'Neanderthal noses are broad and short, as observed in many human populations evolved under warm/humid climates.'

Based on the fossils, the researchers inferred, and digitally reconstructed...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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