Were modern humans neighbors to Neanderthals?
How this happened, and why, is another matter. For years, paleontologists have argued about whether anatomically modern humans invading from the east either wiped out the Neanderthals or out-innovated them; or, alternatively, whether Neanderthals and the invaders simply interbred to create today's Homo sapiens. This debate has taken on new virulence amid an accumulation of new, but still inconclusive, evidence.
DNA analysis to date suggests that Neanderthals and modern humans are quite probably unrelated -- that Neanderthals were a distinct species altogether.
However, archaeologists have shown in the past few years that modern human remains thought to be associated with human-made artifacts from the late Neanderthal era actually date from much more recent times. No one has found modern human remains buried with artifacts older than perhaps 32,000 years.
The argument now is about whether Neanderthals were comic book characters -- not-quite-bright, club-carrying, knuckle-draggers who couldn't keep up with the invaders -- or, instead, simply a different people who somehow got sideswiped into extinction for some other reason.
This mystery, central to the study of human culture during the Stone Age, is nowhere near resolution. "A lot of this discussion is about how we see our own relationship to these creatures," said Princeton University anthropologist Alan E. Mann. "I worry these discussions are becoming much less about science."
comments powered by Disqus
- Study: Violent radicalism in UK isn't associated with poverty
- CONFIRMED: the Shrine of Jonah/Mosque of Yunus (Nineveh, Mosul, Iraq) has been destroyed
- Chinese President Xi Jinping: Nobody can change history
- Iraq’s Long-Lost Mythical Temple Has Been Found…and Is In Danger of Disappearing Again
- CBS features in-depth coverage of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights law
- Harvard historian: strategy of climate science denial groups 'extremely successful'
- Curators at Victoria and Albert Museum are pushing the boundaries of collecting
- Ukrainian Leaders Are Using David Barton's Theocratic Pseudo-History To Build Their Nation
- John D’Emilio, renowned professor of gay studies, retires
- Journalist Michael Wolraich says he wrote his new book about the Progressives to teach Americans how to do liberal politics