Don’t call Neanderthals Stupid

Some really amazing new finds in France’s Ardeche valley are reported in Nature( see below)

Nature is probably among the top ten most intelligent things on the planet, so I won’t spoil it too much for you. The impressive thing is that Hardy, Moncel and their team have direct evidence of Neanderthals weaving cords. And if you can do this with your tools, you can do it to make baskets, shelters, maybe even boats. Trouble is, all these things are “soft” , and they rot in the ground before we can dig them up.

For a long, long time it was our conceit that stupid, primitive Neanderthals were pushed out by oh- so- clever Homo sapiens. It shows how huge castles of shell knowledge can be erected on tiny foundations of fact. As more and more discoveries are made, we learn we were breeding with them. They had art and decorations. Now they have weaving. As the authors conclude:

It is difficult to know how we can regard Neanderthals as anything other than cognitive equals to modern humans

There are two things here. First, and smaller. have specialists got to re-think their whole classification of the most modern humans? Like, what is a species, and what isn’t? Well, that that’s one for them. But I would strongly council that we change our name from Homo sapiens (Wise man), as it gives too many people a puffed up sense of pride. How about Homo neohumilis? (the man who learned his lesson)

The second is larger: how many other castles of dodgy knowledge are raised up before all the facts are in? Most damage is done to the world by people who think they know the answers.

#Neanderthal #sapiens #neanderthalcord #humans #Nature

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