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1. Reconstruction of hunting behavior with projectile weapons in Neanderthals and early modern humans based on differences in skeletal morphology
Team Leader:
Yasuo Higurashi, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Laboratory of Biological Anthropology, Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University

Research Objectives:
Between about 45,000 and 35,000 years ago, Neanderthals in Europe were replaced by anatomically modern humans. Various explanations have been offered for processes leading to the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans (RNMH). One argument has posited that modern humans developed complex projectile weapons, such as the spear thrower and dart and the bow and arrow, before the RNMH, and that these innovative technologies improved hunting efficiency and broadened the range of prey species availability. To test this proposed explanation, this study examines the RNMH in terms of hunting behavior with projectile weapons.

Research Methods:
Based on functional morphology and biomechanics, this study quantitatively investigates the following variables potentially related to the RNMH: 1) the respective advantages of using the hand-cast spear, spear thrower and dart, and bow and arrow in hunting; 2) body movement during spear throwing; 3) skeletal features influencing throwing ability in modern humans; 4) differences in the skeletal morphologies of Neanderthals and modern humans; and 5) spear-throwing ability in Neanderthals and early modern humans.
2. Life history and nutritional ecology of the Neanderthals
Team Leader:
Taro Yamauchi, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Hokkaido University.

Izumi Hagino, PhD Student, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Hokkaido University / Research Fellow of JSPS

Research Objectives:
Following a previous study, which was an invited Research, carried out in the FY 2011–2012, we have continued to conduct field researches on hunter-gatherer populations such as the African Pygmies, Australian Aborigines, and Alaskan Inuit.

This study aims to create hypotheses on the physiology, ecology, and growth pattern of the Neanderthals using findings from field researches on modern hunter-gatherers, fossil materials, and computer simulation.

Research Methods:
1. Life history of the Neanderthals
・Infer the existence of the adolescent growth spurt and estimate its characteristics.
・Estimate the length of childhood (i.e., from weaning to the onset of growth spurt).
2. Metabolic adaptation to the cold environment
・Estimate the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
・Calculate the lean body mass (LBM).
3. Nutritional ecology of the Neanderthals
・Estimate the daily energy budget (intake vs. expenditure).
・Deduce energy requirements for the Neanderthals on the basis of the energy expenditure on hunting and gathering activities and the time spent in these activities.

Research Project on Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans: Testing Evolutionary Models of Learning
Supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, ports, Science & Technology Japan
Project Office: Kouchi University of Technology,CIC Tokyo 302/ 3-3-6 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Zip:108-0023;
TEL: +81-(0)3-5440-9039 FAX: +81-(0)3-5440-9119 Contact: koutaigeki@gmail.com;
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