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I guess, but wouldn't evolution have addressed this? And if a level eustachion was such a bad thing, how did it evolve in the first place?

Druvius 7 Oct 22
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My daughter constantly had ear infections and we spent a lot of time seeing doctors. We were concerned something was wrong. Finally, a pediatrician told us this was normal and would pass and it did (made me wonder about doctors). It sounds plausible but I wonder how long did Neanderthals survive. In a new book, "Civilized to Death," [goodreads.com] it was said 'the foraging Neanderthals...disappeared when foraging Homo Sapiens came into contact with them. Could our own aggressive behavior account for their demise?" The book tries to link civilizing with agriculture which, in turn, created competition and aggression.

JackPedigo Level 9 Oct 23, 2019

There are times when evolution cannot keep up with environmental stresses and changes. If the inner ear bacteria, otitis media bacteria, took it's own evolutionary change, it's possible that it became viral enough to imperil Neanderthal.

Given that an ear infection in and of itself, may not be enough. But given environmental changes that were occurring at the time Neanderthals perished, and the stress created by competition by Homo sapien sapien. the two factors may have acted in conjunction to expedite Neanderthals extinction.

t1nick Level 8 Oct 22, 2019

Well, that makes about as much sense, evolutionary and anatomically speaking, as does pissing on raging Bushfire in the hope of putting it out.
For example, IF that were the case for their extinction, then would not the same be so for such other primates as well, Chimps being our closest genetic relatives, for one, should also be 100% extinct due to these ear infections, as should at least 90% of other primate species as well?
And WHAT exactly caused the other earlier Hominid species to go extinct, was it also rampant ear infections?
Eustachian tube defects occur quite often in Homo Sapien infants and adults as well, AND, have been occurring , more than likely, since the first Homo Sapiens evolved, ergo, Homo Sapiens SHOULD be extinct by now as well according to this 'research' article.
Almost ALL primate young are born with smaller head sizes than they will have as adults and that is simply because of the birth and pelvic canal size that the infant head has to pass through at the moment of birth.
Medically speaking, at least 80-90% of ear infections/inflammations in human infants, for example, ARE the result of the development and constant repositioning that the teeth go through BEFORE they eventually erupt from the gums, the rest being, most usually, due to a narrowing somewhere in the Eustachian tube that was present long before the actual birth occurred which causes an accumulation of ear wax and mucus to 'block' the tube just as it does when we get a 'head-cold', etc, etc.

Triphid Level 8 Oct 22, 2019

Evolution has had many, many dead ends and wrong turns.

Consider why men are still born with a foreskin; even though we now know that untouched foreskins promote more genital/venereal diseases. If it hadn't been for the development of circumcision, then many generations of a higher illness/death frequency would have eventually favored no foreskin...but we "bypassed" evolution.

Neanderthals were but one of several well known Pre-homo-sapiens humanoid species that despite their massive strength and endurance, had many small evolutionary "dead ends"....the Eustachian tube was simply one more these folk discovered.


Robecology Level 8 Oct 22, 2019

Three words are problem in the headline

Scientists, believe and know.

Which is it?

Geoffrey51 Level 8 Oct 22, 2019

Yes, typically bad science reporting. It's an interesting study, and hints at one possible factor in the demise of the Neanderthal, but that's about it. It's unlikely there is any one single factor accounting for their extinction, but people have been primed to expect simplistic "Eureka" type scientific discoveries.Not complexity and nuance, so that's what the media does with science news.

@Druvius okay, thanks.

‘Scientist’ and ‘believe’ don’t live in the same street, let alone in the same house I would have thought!


A major reason babies get ear infections , is that they have two sets of teeth buried inside their skulls and they are growing and moving into position , and breaking though their gums , causing infections .

Cast1es Level 8 Oct 22, 2019

A quarter of a million years of Evolution and this was still a problem???? not likely the cause of their demise!
We all know how well Homo sapiens are at killing each other... and other species!! That truth has never changed.

bubaj50 Level 7 Oct 22, 2019

arrant nonsense I suspect - for one thing their heads were huge, and that is what usually helps Sapiens children to overcome ear-aches, as they get older the tubes are bigger and clear more easily. Also this supposes that Neanderthals evolved with all of them having serious ear infections which obviously would not be the case.
There is no great mystery about them being out-competed, it happens to virtually all species that are slow breeders compared to a similar species (us) - and we've known for a while that they probably had fewer children, further apart.

Allamanda Level 8 Oct 22, 2019

Not buying it..

Charlene Level 9 Oct 22, 2019

Wow who knew

bobwjr Level 9 Oct 22, 2019

I know, a species wiped out by earaches. Who would have guessed? Of course humans nearly did themselves in with hair spray, so anything is possible.

@Druvius ear infections can lead to meningitis

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