Neanderthal brain development

There is a new study comparing modern human and Neanderthal brain cases. Link:

The study concludes that Neanderthal did not have the same development regarding language and complex social networks. They speculate that they were less good at language and trade.

Regarding trade, this is supported in the book “Desolate landscapes” that concludes that Neanderthal seemed to use raw materials from their surroundings while modern humans seem to have traded a lot more as evidenced by long distance movements of raw materials. So, this notion is supported by archeology.

Regarding language, it could very well be that Neanderthal had differences in language and language acquisition. It is quite possible that their language use were related to imitiation of animal sounds rather than social learning of language. As previously posted, autistics do not acquire language the same way as neurotypicals do. Small isolated groups also do not lend themselves to the same type of language use that is typical for modern humans.

It is evident that these findings fits perfectly well into the Neanderthal theory. It is in the areas of language and social networks that Aspies lack adaptations that neurotypicals have. Neanderthals instead had a different set of social adaptations for living in small groups.

10 Responses to “Neanderthal brain development

  • Shonna Bungy
    November 26th, 2010 14:20

    Love your site man keep up the good work

  • Hag Gasgun
    November 26th, 2010 21:47

    I’m not sure for the animal sound imitation part but for the most I agree. Neanderthal had many ‘common point’ with us.

  • Iñiguez
    December 22nd, 2010 11:40

    Sorry for my English
    I found this site after writing a theory about the origin of moral capacity and the origin of logical deduction in modern humans. I would like you to read it. Is written in Spanish but you can use the automatic translator google. Thanks, greetings.

  • admin
    December 23rd, 2010 03:10

    I’ve read it. There is some merit to it.

    There are some complicating things regarding Aspies and lies. One is that some Aspies obviously could lie pretty well if they have to. However, being truthful probably is a predisposition in many Aspies, so that is correct.

    I think lying is a trait that can easily evolve with overlapping social groups, like those of neurotypicals. After lying evolves, punishing cheaters will evolve, and so the circle continues.

    Aspies did not evolve with overlapping social structures, but are rather adapted to closed groups, and lying and cheater-detection has no place there. If you lie, you will get expelled, which would often result in death, so this trait could never evolve in Aspies/Neanderthals.

    Irony and sarcasm has no place in this though. The inability of Aspies to detect irony and sarcasm is not grounded in a preference for the truth, but rather is related to the inability to read nonverbal clues. Even more interesting is that some Aspies just loves irony and sarcasm. So, no, these are not related.

  • Iñiguez
    December 27th, 2010 03:56

    Thank you very much for your attention. Greetings.

  • nathan
    January 2nd, 2011 14:56

    I loved reading your Neanderthal theory of autism.

    An evolutionary history of the condition stretching back to the Neanderthal and the contribution it made to human history will create a more positive public outlook on autism and the Neanderthal.

    As a history student and suspected ‘aspie’ I think your theory, if it’s true, would influence our entire view of human history. Going to the end one might even defend that is was Neanderthal and their ‘ancestors’ in modern humans who actually made human history!

    I hope one day you will write a book on this and change our perspective of autism, the Neanderthal and human history!

  • vofc
    May 28th, 2011 17:39

    Not sure where this theory leaves people like me who are language biased! I suppose you could argue that my language skills originate from the homosapien part of the genom but I have to say that that would be a bit of a stretch for me.

    My theory is that Asperger-type brains develop as a result of malnutrition in the mother, e.g. folate deficiency. At times of famine, the type of brain required is a particularly single-minded, focused, highly motivated, highly intelligent brain that is targeted towards the survival of the individual rather than the group. Such individuals would be more inclined to break away from the group at times of famine or danger and instinctively head off in another direction taking risks the majority would not.

  • mylindaelliott
    August 5th, 2011 11:34

    I really enjoyed your paper. I see you have stopped working on this. Is there any reason why?

  • jeff_f_f
    April 10th, 2012 07:36

    Hum, let’s follow this logically. All primates have larger brains than other mammals relative to their body weight. Brains burn a disproportionate amount of energy compared to their weight, in humans that is about 20% of metabolism. Net calorie intake is vital to survival so from an evolutionary standpoint those calories burned have to be balanced by greater surivability.

    However, increasing primate intelligence does not correlate to tool use until you get to chimps and the homo tree. So those brains have to be doing something else to increase survival commensurate with their increased calorie intake.

    All primates have social structures more complex than other mamals. Most primates exhibit behaivors analogous to lying and cheating. Complex social and communication structures are common to all primates and correlates with brain to body-weight ratio quite closely. Neandertals had larger brain to body weight ratios than modern humans. Unless you have evidence other than speculation it would be reasonable to assume that they were at least as communicative as modern humans. Trade does not equal communication.

    In the modern world Aspberger’s is closely associated with technological development. Historical evidence suggests that most if not all great technological innovators had Asberger’s traits. How likely is it that Neandertals were technologically stunted yet a race of Aspies.

    Aspbergers is not a defect. It is what allows humanity to develop. This borders on neurotypical bigotry.

  • Jacki
    January 30th, 2015 18:41

    vofc, I’m intrigued by the folate theory (as a complementary/separate cause), though I would interpret the necessity for those characteristics to survive as actually (I personally believe) intentionally beneficial to the whole group. Consider the species as an organism with cells: if the conditions arise where the organism needs to evolve in order to adapt to changing environmental conditions or threats, more highly-sensitive cells (imagine antennae functionally) that can process differently and problem-solve efficiently would prove to be quite useful (throw on top of that a high propensity for loyalty and protection of their organism’s other cells).
    It would also make sense to me that in our species’ particular evolutionary history, the Neanderthals could be seen as a specific organ in the organism that branched/evolved to be super-specialized in certain areas/environments and that something like folate or other environmental-biological factors (pollutants, etc) that may have mimicked similar conditions that Neanderthals were adept at surviving in, so perhaps they serve as a genetic-environmental red flag to the organism to bring out more of those traits again.

    Thoughts and feedback from anyone on this is appreciated! I’m a very-recently discovered Aspie at age 30, so all the research I’ve been doing the past week or so has been swimming around and congealing, so any perspective (irony noted, lol) on this from someone outside myself is welcome! (<–I imagine this as requesting satellite images of my world, lol)

    Thanks for an amazing site and forum, man! Excellent stuff here!

    Jacki 🙂

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