Study: Neanderthal, modern human link unlikely
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A study of the skulls of Neanderthals, comparing them with early and modern humans, concludes that that ancient group is unlikely to have been the ancestor of people today.
Scientists have long debated whether modern people are related to Neanderthals, the squat, powerful hunters who dominated Europe for 100,000 years before dying out on the arrival of modern humans.
The new study, led by anthropologist Katerina Harvati of New York University, measured 15 standard landmarks on the face and skull of Neanderthals, early modern humans, current humans as well as other primate species. The results are published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study found that the differences measured between humans and Neanderthals were significantly greater than those found between subspecies of any single group, indicating Neanderthals were not a subspecies of humans. In addition, the difference was as great or greater than that found between closely related primate species, such as humans, gorillas and chimpanzees.