Neanderthals, which were traditionally thought of as extremely primitive humans, are now believed to have been extremely intelligent, even comparable to the intelligence of modern humans. They used tools, had social structures, thrived in hostile environments, and lived long lives.

Rethinking Neanderthals

Bruno Maureille unlocks the gate in a chain-link fence, and we walk into the fossil bed past a pile of limestone rubble, the detritus of an earlier dig. We’re 280 miles southwest of Paris, in rolling farm country dotted with long-haired cattle and etched by meandering streams. Maureille, an anthropologist at the University of Bordeaux, oversees the excavation of this storied site called Les Pradelles, where for three decades researchers have been uncovering, fleck by fleck, the remains of humanity’s most notorious relatives, the Neanderthals.

We clamber 15 feet down a steep embankment into a swimming pool-size pit. Two hollows in the surrounding limestone indicate where shelters once stood. I’m just marveling at the idea that Neandertha… Continue Reading (12 minute read)

10 thoughts on “Neanderthals, which were traditionally thought of as extremely primitive humans, are now believed to have been extremely intelligent, even comparable to the intelligence of modern humans. They used tools, had social structures, thrived in hostile environments, and lived long lives.”

  1. niceegg420

    So you’re telling me we wiped out another species and then ret-conned them as the uncivilized aggressors? Idk doesn’t seem like something humans would do..

  2. AmishAbdulJabbar

    At first I read ‘Netherlands’ and wondered why the Dutch were so dumb..

  3. Thaumaterge

    \> Extremely Intelligent

    \> Comparable to the intelligence of modern humans

    Which is it?

  4. ZESTY-ANIMAL

    I have a bump on the back of my skull, supposedly from neanderthal heritage

  5. leberkrieger

    I don’t think science has any way to establish what early humans were like in terms of relative “intelligence”. We can gather evidence about what they did, what tools they used and soon, but it’s entirely possible that an average human from 50,000 years ago could be raised in modern times to speak, read, write, learn the rules of the road and drive a car. There’s nothing in the scientific method that can tell us different, it’s just prejudice and assumption that make us think we’re smarter than they were.

  6. Tea_master_666

    I’ve watched an interview with Noam Chomsky where he was basically saying the neanderthals did not have developed communication skill like homo sapiens do. I don’t exactly remember his arguments though. It is on youtube for people who are interested.

  7. FeculentUtopia

    Too bad for them we were better than them at killing people.

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