Thursday, April 29, 2004

Early maturation?

Sometimes midrashim, and Chazal, suggest that certain events happen in a Biblical character's lifetime earlier than makes sense to modern sensibilities. For example, Rivka talking with Eliezer and drawing water from the well for the camels at the age of 3, and people marrying at what we would consider a very early age.

That is why I found this Reuters article on Neanderthals interesting. Though I do not necessarily accept the time frame of Neanderthals existing 30,000 years ago, this shows that Neanderthals matured at an earlier age. Money quote:

Although Neanderthals disappeared from Europe about 30,000 years ago, scientists at the French research institute CRNS in Paris have uncovered new details about them by studying teeth fossils.

The findings, reported in the science journal Nature, suggest Neanderthals reached adulthood by the age of 15 -- about three years before early modern humans -- probably ate a high calorie diet and were a distinct species from modern humans.

"Neanderthals, despite having a large brain, were characterized by a short period of development," said Fernando Ramirez Rozzi.

"This difference in growth between Neanderthals and modern humans is, I think, very strong proof of two different species," he added.

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