Anthropologists from Zurich University have come to the conclusion that a Neanderthal man whose skull was found in France in 1979 was struck on his head with a sharp stone weapon 36,000 years ago. What is especially surprising is that members of the tribe even tried to heal the wound! It lasted for two months, as supposed.
This fact demonstrates that Neanderthal men were not so primitive as we consider them to be. In fact, anthropologists say, as we consider the Neanderthal arts and really complex burial places, they are not so different from modern humans.
Despite the fact that anthropologists consider Neanderthals “a blind evolution branch," some scientists still attempted to refute this viewpoint. According to the common theory, Homo sapiens first appeared in Africa, then quickly spread all over the planet, capturing other territories populated by other anthropoids, Neanderthals including. This theory is also confirmed by the fact that Neanderthals dominated Europe’s territory some 100,000 years ago, but the population became extinct 28,000 years ago.
Recent DNA analysis confirmed this viewpoint as well. Neanderthal DNA is only 7% different from the DNA of a modern human. In fact, the difference is really very great. If scientists performed the correct calculations of the average mutation rate, we may conclude that Neanderthals and modern humans had had a common ancestor some 500,000 years ago, then the lines diverged.
The recent investigation of the Neanderthal remains reveals that their diet consisted of meat, similar to the diet beasts of pray, wolves and tigers. Neanderthal men hunted mammoth mostly; moreover, they were strong and good hunters, not a secondary humanity branch, as sometimes believed.
Nevertheless, the recent investigations still provide no answer to the question of why Neanderthals became extinct. Some scientists think that they were exterminated by the ancestors of modern humans. Some consider that it happened because of climatic changes. Others say that sparsity of Neanderthals naturally resulted in extinction. In any case, it is perfectly clear that Homo sapiens live side by side, not with primitive cave beings, but with rather developed anthropoids.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/25/40297.html