U doodista dabar go'a: Sharafta Neanderthals

Neanderthals, a species of human that died out 40,000 years ago, have been the subject of numerous popular science books in recent years. These books not only provide insights into this extinct sub-species, but they also express frustration with the outdated public perception of Neanderthals. In works of speculative fiction and popular culture, Neanderthals are often portrayed as either primitive brutes or peaceful shamans. This stereotyping reflects a lack of understanding based on outdated scientific research.

Authors Dimitra Papagianni and Michael A Morse seek to challenge these misconceptions and restore dignity to the Neanderthals in their book, The Neanderthals Rediscovered. However, some may question the point of advocating for the extinct. Why should we be indignant on behalf of beings who are no longer here to care for their own dignity?

Despite the Neanderthals’ extinction, there are still important reasons to study and appreciate their existence. Neanderthals were the dominant species of hominin, a term that encompasses all human-like creatures but excludes primates like gorillas, for hundreds of thousands of years. Their physical attributes, such as a larger brain and considerable strength, made them formidable beings. Remains of their bodies have been discovered throughout Europe, further highlighting their significant presence.

The study of Neanderthals began in 1856 when bones were found in a German limestone quarry. A naturalist and an anatomist recognized these bones as belonging to a primitive human species. In 1863, Professor William King proposed the name Homo neanderthalensis, in reference to the valley where the bones were discovered and a 17th-century wanderer who explored the area.

The name Homo neanderthalensis served to acknowledge the existence of another type of human but also emphasized their distinctiveness from Homo sapiens. This distinction likely contributed to the denial of the Neanderthals’ dignity throughout history.

Although the Neanderthals lived in a world that is vastly different from ours today, studying their existence offers valuable insights into our own evolutionary history. By advocating for the dignity of the extinct, we recognize the importance of understanding and appreciating the diversity of human beings throughout time.

– “The Dignity of Neanderthals” by Rebecca Wragg Sykes
– “The Neanderthals Rediscovered” by Dimitra Papagianni and Michael A Morse