Underestimating the Neanderthals

Professor Clive Finlayson is director, chief scientist and curator of Gibraltar Museum. His latest book - The Smart Neanderthal - will be published in February 2019.

He concludes with a fairly haunting thought:

Denigrating the Neanderthals has been part of that process of exalting our own. In a recent BBC television documentary I was asked if I would like to meet a Neanderthal today.

My immediate response was to say yes, but I hesitated and changed my mind. If our history is anything to go by, what would we do if we found a remotely isolated group of Neanderthals somewhere on Earth today? I leave it to the reader to answer that question.

I dare say I agree with him on this one. We do not have a good track record on ethical questions such as these.


We could always just invite 'em over for dinner, or just leave 'em tracts if they were hostile… ; )

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On a more responsive note, this is exactly where an ideologically-driven model approach leads some to deny the very real evidence of advanced cognitive function for some of these types in the human line who were probably prior to Adam, and “outside the garden,” with whom competition, warfare, or attrition led to their demise, with some evidence of interbreeding left.

New research on Neandertal weaponry indicates a need to revise our theories towards an advanced status: