Neandertal cold adaptation: Physiological and energetic factors

  title={Neandertal cold adaptation: Physiological and energetic factors},
  author={A. Theodore Steegmann and Frank J. Cerny and Trenton W. Holliday},
  journal={American Journal of Human Biology},
European Neandertals employed a complex set of physiological cold defenses, homologous to those seen in contemporary humans and nonhuman primates. While Neandertal morphological patterns, such as foreshortened extremities and low relative surface‐area, may have explained some of the variance in cold resistance, it is suggested the adaptive package was strongly dependent on a rich array of physiological defenses. A summary of the environmental cold conditions in which the Neandertals lived is… 

Energetic Competition Between Neandertals and Anatomically Modern Humans

The effects of climate on energy expenditure, which include climatic influences on human metabolic physiology and variation in the level of physical activity required for subsistence under different

Bioenergetic perspectives on Neanderthal thermoregulatory and activity budgets

Estimating Neanderthal SA can be used to model Neanderthal daily energy budgets, and form the basis of evaluating the costs/benefits of hypothesized morphological and behavioral benefits of cold-adapted morphology in Neanderthals.

Human whole body cold adaptation

Human cold adaptation in the form of increased metabolism and insulation seems to have occurred during recent evolution in populations, but cannot be developed during a lifetime in cold conditions as encountered in temperate and arctic regions.

pregnant Neanderthal women

Models of Neanderthal energetics and energy requirements suggest they required an average daily caloric intake well above the average for anatomically modern human foragers. The reasons stated for

Neandertal energetics revisited: Insights into population dynamics and life history evolution

This work systematically reexamine Neandertal energy expenditure and intake through the lens of recent developments in contemporary human biology and nutritional science by using published sex-specific body mass estimates coupled with physiological information on contemporary high-latitude populations.

Neandertals' large lower thorax may represent adaptation to high protein diet.

It appears likely that the enlarged inferior section of the Neandertals thorax and possibly, in part, also his wide pelvis, represented an adaptation to provide encasement for those enlarged organs.

The Neanderthal face is not cold adapted.

Comparing the Skeletal Anatomy, Technology and Culture of Homo neanderthalensis and Early Modern Humans

This paper will compare the overall differences in skeletal anatomy, along with the technological and cultural adaptations, between Homo neanderthalensis and early modern humans, and will show that



Postcranial evidence of cold adaptation in European Neandertals

It appears that European Neandertals were “hyperpolar” in body shape, likely due to two factors: 1) the extremely cold temperatures of glacial Europe and 2) less effective cultural buffering against cold stress.

Luxuskonsumption, diet-induced thermogenesis and brown fat: the case in favour.

It is believed that the experimental evidence now available leaves little doubt about the importance of DIT in the regulation of energy balance in laboratory animals and that brown fat is the principal source of this form of heat production.


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  • Environmental Science
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 1963
An experimental basis for this speculation has been provided by the finding that subcutaneous fat in Caucasians acutely exposed to cold was positively correlated with maintained rectal temperature, reduced metabolic rate, and cooler skin temperatures, all of which are in the appropriate direction for effective ins~lation.

Dietary Shifts and the European Upper Palaeolithic Transition1

  • S. Cachel
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Current Anthropology
  • 1997
High‐latitude modern humans with traditional diets must maintain a critical ratio of dietary fat to protein. An analysis of 15 New World Arctic groups reveals that the abundance and predict ability

Neanderthal diet at Vindija and Neanderthal predation: the evidence from stable isotopes.

The isotope evidence overwhelmingly points to the Neanderthals behaving as top-level carnivores, obtaining almost all of their dietary protein from animal sources, and reinforces current taphonomic assessments of associated faunal elements and makes it unlikely that the Neanderthal were acquiring animal protein principally through scavenging.

Morphological adaptation to climate in modern and fossil hominids

  • C. Ruff
  • Geography, Environmental Science
  • 1994
Application of the simple thermoregulatory principle of increasing and decreasing body surface area/body mass in hot and cold climates, respectively, may explain the major systematic differences in body form between living and fossil hominids inhabiting tropical and higher latitude regions of the world.

Brown Adipose Tissue: More Than an Effector of Thermogenesis? a

The existence of transgenic mice with ablations of proteins central in fever and in BAT thermogenesis opens up possibilities for identification and elucidation of this putative new role for brown adipose tissue as an endocrine organ involved in the control of fever.

Studies on thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue in temperature-acclimated Macaca mulatta.

Towards a molecular understanding of adaptive thermogenesis

There have been significant advances in understanding the molecular regulation of energy expenditure in mitochondria and the mechanisms of transcriptional control of mitochondrial genes in relation to classical physiological views of adaptive thermogenesis.