New Scientist is now rehabilitating the Neanderthals.
We once thought of Neanderthals as crude and unintelligent – not any more. Archaeological evidence suggests they were capable of symbolic thought, had some capacity for speech, and probably carried out elaborate burial rituals. They may even have taught modern humans new skills when the two species met and interbred.
Contrary to expectations, some Neanderthals were even vegetarian. Others seasoned their food with wild herbs. And they were making porridge 32,000 years ago, long before farming was invented. New Scientist Staff, “New Scientist Live: the sophisticated home life of Neanderthals” at
But let’s be clear about one thing. The reason “we once thought of Neanderthals as crude and unintelligent” was the Darwinian need for a missing link. Someone has to be the subhuman. If they aren’t the subhuman anymore, who gets the job? Before you say “Homo erectus!”, see the link below.
See also: Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents
A deep and abiding need for Neanderthals to be stupid. Why?
Do racial assumptions prevent recognizing Homo erectus as fully human?