3 comments on “Neanderthal Cognition

  1. Didn’t the Neanderthals have a much longer run as a distinct species than we’ve had. I seem to recall — perhaps incorrectly — that they originated a bit over 300,000 years ago. If that is anywhere near accurate, then they were by our standards quite a successful species. Wouldn’t that almost by itself suggest they might be a bit more sophisticated than we’ve given them credit for?

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    • I’ll let Mr Peron answer in more detail, But you are right…less intelligent species don’t seem to last long, especially as a predator with competition.

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  2. It’s believed that the Neanderthals lived from 400 kya to somewhere around 40-35 kya and perhaps even later. Compare this to Homo erectus who lived between 1.9 mya to around 143 kya. In comparison modern humans (Homo sapiens) are only believed to have emerged about 200 kya. So in answer to your question yes the Neanderthals had a rather long run.

    I agree with you complete Sunstone, in that, this alone is evidence for their sophistication. They had to have been intelligent to survive that long. Had they not been so then their run would have been rather short as we find in some other human species.

    The problem with Neanderthals has been the social myth that has been created around them and has persisted for a long while now. This species was painted as the typical “Caveman” and, thus, was exploited by Hollywood in movies, cartoons, and children’s story books. Social myths can be difficult to break and in this case that is very true. The evidence says Neanderthals were NOT the dumb brutes we’ve painted them out to be at all and, as you suggest, the mere fact of its longevity suggests intelligence and sophistication. It was, in fact and I believe, a very successful species that never did go extinct but was assimilated by modern humans via interbreeding. And we find many remains that prove there was such interbreeding as those remains are hybrid remains.

    Part of the problem, IMO, is the Out of Africa Theory (OOA) which is also known as the “‘Replacement Theory.” That is the notion that early humans came out of Africa, moved in to territory held by other more archaic species, and replaced them. I don’t think is was as much a matter of “replacement” as it was interbreeding with them and producing hybrids, frankly.

    Great point and thank you for your comment Sunstone 🙂

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