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Neanderthals and there Change of Image

Updated on May 24, 2016

Introduction to the Neanderthals

Ancient human species now gone from earth but which we have remains of like the Neanderthals is a fascinating subject. Archaeologist's and scientist have both added in put to this field, giving us an in depth look into these ancient beings. It really is weird to think that at one time not so long ago, other human creatures uniquely different to us were roaming the earth. Thanks to advances in Archaeology and modern science, Neanderthals are one ancient human species we now know a fair bit about. It's now about 150 years since we first discovered there bones and since then we have discovered much more of there remains giving us a close look at these mysterious ancient people's.

It seems that over the years the view of the Neanderthal has started to change, first we had them down as the brutes of the ancient world but today many believe this to be false. Sure an average Neanderthal would easily be able to bench press three hundred pounds, had the strength of five men and was a savage uncaring hunter. Only these ancient kind of humans were very much a well adapted product of their environment. The life of a Neanderthal was a tough one born into hardship where four out of every five children died. Born usually into small clans danger was everywhere due to bigger animals, the element's and their rugged tough life style. If a Neanderthal did survive the peril's of childhood then they could expect to be dead at thirty. They lived in the harsh time of ice age Europe, showing up some 800,000 years ago. Its said evolution helped grow their bodies strong, growing thick strong bones and hair helping them survive their conditions. The Neanderthal had the run of the mill of it's own territories for a long long time. Hunting giant Buffalo's and anything else they could find, until one day when scientists think spreading down from Africa emerged a new human in Europe the Homo Sapiens. Although smaller and weaker the Sapiens out numbered the Neanderthals and were also very cunning. What happened next is the big mystery in the story, the Neanderthals vanish. This has all brought great debate to those interested in the subject some believing we killed them in fights over territory, others believe there was more a merge of love.

Change of Image

First thought of as brutish, rough, thuggish and dumb now archaeology and science is putting forth the claim that we have this very wrong. First small things were noticed like the tips of their spears, first thought to be a rude primitive stone age tool has now been found to be very advanced. This sharpened stone flint is far more difficult to make than one would think just looking at it. In fact people today trying to sharpen and recreate this tool in the same manner have struggled miserably, taking well over a year to master the skill. These stone tools were so strong that they were not just used for placing at the end of a stick for hunting, but as knives also which would slice easily threw the biggest and toughest of animals. They would use all the animal, for food, tools and the skins would keep them warm. This one tool alone points to the fact that there is much more to the Neanderthal than the dumb brute fixed still in many people's minds. Today thanks too this ancient tool, there is evidence to suggest that the Neanderthal's were the first human species here on earth to make the first ever synthetic material. This material is named Pitch, and was used to stick their sharpened stone tools to their short and long sticks to be used as spears for hunting. People are now asking were the Neanderthal's the first to start an industrial process? One things for sure, they did master a advanced thermal process which under the same circumstances scientist today can not replicate. Its no easy task making Pitch, which is extracted under the right conditions from heated bark. They did tasks, created things and hunted bigger animals in cooperation with each other and they mastered Pitch. Archaeologists have also found small Neanderthal villages, leading to major new questions such as just how conscious were these people? How could they communicate and could they talk? All questions pushing the boundaries of traditional beliefs.

In our modern age we have advanced in the sciences and the science of genetics is one field which has jumped head first into the study of different ancient human species especially the Neanderthal. Neanderthal Genomes have now been mapped, making it a simple process for Geneticist to compare the DNA with that of modern humans. The very gene within us associated with our ability for language is called the FoxP2, amazingly the Neanderthals had this same gene and it was an exact match. This might not prove they actually talked but it does show they had the right tools too, the ability, the gene FoxP2. Scientist then delved even deeper into these studies, and things got even stranger. Results have shown that Neanderthals are still right here with us today, well in some small way anyway. In the human DNA. Humans today do carry Neanderthal DNA in there own, and it depends where a person was born which normally determines how much they carry. People from Africa who have never left have shown to have little if any Neanderthal DNA in them, whilst it shows up more in European's. These results have shattered many traditional belief systems, there was breeding with us which was deemed okay by natural law. Yet with there being small amounts found, there has been speculation to whether there is a dark side to the tale. Overall though results have shown that the Neanderthals were very much like us, they could mate with us and now evidence is circulating showing they may have used symbols and may have even performed rituals.

- 800,000
Years Ago
Neanderthals emerge in Europe
- 40,000
Years Ago
Homo Sapiens join them
- 30,000
Years Ago
The Neanderthals are gone

The question is what happened to them? Did we wipe them out? The table above would suggest so. Many scientists, researchers, historians and archaeologists a like think we killed them, others think their DNA points to them just slowly breeding into us

Chinese and Asian people are thought to have 1 to 2% Neanderthal DNA

Europeans 1-3% but Tuscans have the highest at 1-5%

Images from Pixabay


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