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Thread: Neanderthal Breathing Was Different

  1. #1
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    Neanderthal Breathing Was Different

    From Laboratory Equipment magazine

    Neanderthals, our extinct cousins, bequeathed many traits to modern humans’ DNA, including those for height, schizophrenia, depression and allergies, among other factors.

    But some characteristics that were particular to Neanderthals appear to have died out with them 40,000 years ago. The latest, based on a new detailed skeletal examination: a different breathing mechanism distinct from other Homo genus members.

    The new understanding is made with the virtual reconstruction of the delicate rib bones, as presented recently by a European and Israeli team in the journal Nature Communications.
    Neanderthals likely relied more on the diaphragm for breathing, guessed Ella Been, another of the authors, of Ono Academic College.

    “Modern humans rely on both the diaphragm and the expansion of the rib cage,” Been said. “Here we can see how new technologies and methodologies in the study of fossil remains are providing new information to understand extinct species.”
    Nature Communications

    Abstract:
    The size and shape of the Neandertal thorax has been debated since the first discovery of Neandertal ribs more than 150 years ago, with workers proposing different interpretations ranging from a Neandertal thoracic morphology that is indistinguishable from modern humans, to one that was significantly different from them. Here, we provide a virtual 3D reconstruction of the thorax of the adult male Kebara 2 Neandertal. Our analyses reveal that the Kebara 2 thorax is significantly different but not larger from that of modern humans, wider in its lower segment, which parallels his wide bi-iliac breadth, and with a more invaginated vertebral column. Kinematic analyses show that rib cages that are wider in their lower segment produce greater overall size increments (respiratory capacity) during inspiration. We hypothesize that Neandertals may have had a subtle, but somewhat different breathing mechanism compared to modern humans.
    It looks like the entire article is available at the link.
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  2. #2
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    There's a pretty wide variation in breathing style in humans - some people are strongly diaphragmatic, some strongly thoracic. Males tend to be more diaphragmatic than females. It would be nice to see this reconstruction done for more than one individual, including some females.

    Grant Hutchison
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    Maybe he was one of their opera singers?
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    Schizophrenia and Depression. Really? That seems a stretch; is evidence for that outlined in the paper?

    CJSF
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Schizophrenia and Depression. Really? That seems a stretch; is evidence for that outlined in the paper?
    Not in that paper. The reference is, among other things, to a paper from last year in Science. The Neanderthal genome contains a lot of genes associated with diseases of various kinds in modern humans. But there was presumably no more a "gene for schizophrenia" in Neanderthals than there is in modern humans - so many things affect gene expression, the best we can say is that some genes show a strong association with schizophrenia, or increase the risk of schizophrenia. How those same genes manifested themselves in Neanderthals is probably forever unknowable. But we can say that those Neanderthal genes, expressed in the modern human genome, are associated with increased schizophrenia risk.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2018-Nov-29 at 05:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    But we can say that those Neanderthal genes, expressed in the modern human genome, are associated with increased schizophrenia risk.
    I wonder how that would manifest...

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    on a more awestruck thought, the stability of DNA over 50,000 years and much more is surely staggering? The ability to sequence billions of aleles from fragments and to cross compare them, rather mind blowing? the contribution to the evolution story and our story, fascinating. Then the timescales seems short when you think of the dear Celeocanth, or the Nautilus, stable in form for many millions of years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Maybe he was one of their opera singers?
    FWIW, right now, my diaphragm region needs more stitches than my thoracic region. Nice one!
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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