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A Fresh Look at Our Neanderthal Relatives

A Fresh Look at Our Neanderthal Relatives

A little shorter, broader, and more muscled than modern humans, Neanderthals likely outnumbered Homo sapiens in Europe — at least at first. “Neanderthals were never some sort of highway service station en route to Real People,” writes Wragg Sykes, a Paleolithic archaeologist. The first Neanderthal bones were discovered in 1856 in a cave in the valley now known as Neandertal (spelled Neanderthal prior to 1901) in northern Germany. “The enduring myth that Neanderthal technology was stuck in some kind of cognitive mire, bogged down by minds unable to innovate, is false,” according to Wragg Sykes. She also raises questions about why so many human bodies, particularly babies, appear to be cannibalized at Neanderthal sites.

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