More Neanderthal Promotion
It’s a good time to be a Neanderthal. You’ll get more respect than ever before from paleoanthropologists. The latest example, published in PhysOrg, is headlined, “Neanderthals more advanced than previously thought.” Julien Riel-Salvatore [U of Colorado at Denver] says he is “rehabilitating Neanderthals” by challenging a half-century of “conventional wisdom” that portrayed them as numbskulls. His studies in Italy show Neanderthals to be creative, adaptable and successful, coming up with tools, art and hunting implements on their own without “modern human” help. “We are more brothers than distant cousins,” he thinks. See also the 05/08/2010 entry.
Update: National Geographic just published a strange new idea: that volcanoes killed off the Neanderthals. Ker Than explained that major volcanic eruptions near the Caucasus Mountains so damaged their habitat they were unable to bounce back. This flies in the face of a long-standing theory that modern humans proved too brainy for them and pushed them off the world stage. And didn’t Neanderthals cover a wide area from northern Europe to the Middle East? Other anthropologists were quoted with objections to the new idea.
It’s going to take a long time to undo the Neanderthal myth because of the Law of Inertia for Falsified Theories (01/15/2010).