-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Children today take longer
to mature than Neanderthal children did, which may have given
modern humans an evolutionary advantage, researchers suggest.
In the study, a multinational team of scientists used
synchrotron X-ray imaging to study the fossil teeth of young
Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.
"Teeth are remarkable time recorders, capturing each day of growth much like rings in trees reveal yearly progress. Even more impressive is the fact that our first molars contain a tiny 'birth certificate' and finding this birth line allows us to calculate exactly how old a juvenile was when it died," Tanya Smith, a researcher at Harvard University and the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, said in a news release from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.
The fossil teeth were analyzed at the facility, located in
France. The scientists found that Neanderthal teeth grew much
faster than the teeth of modern humans.
The longer maturation process in modern human children may lead
to additional learning and complex cognition, giving humans a
competitive advantage over Neanderthals, the study authors
The shift from a primitive "live fast and die young" strategy to
a "live slow and grow old" strategy has helped make modern humans
one of the most successful organisms on the planet, according to
The study was published in this week's online issue of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The American Museum of Natural History has more about
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.