I came across this while researching for another article. It caught my attention, as did the entire blog. I thought I’d pass the article (and blog) along. I encourage you to read and follow too! Happy Reading.
It is a good week for defenders of the Neanderthals—a species long maligned for having fallen short of human thought, and as a consequence, having lost the competition between our species. While I don’t necessarily assert that Neanderthals did have similar cognitive abilities to their Homo sapiens kin, the arguments against that possibility have always struck me as shallow. For decades, anthropologists have argued that the gap between the rich array of human artifacts to the sparser array of those of the Neanderthals—specifically those artifacts which have no discernible utility that are traditionally interpreted as symbolic—has shown that the Neanderthals did not have the propensity for symbolic thought, language, or complex cumulative culture. There is a relevant old adage in science, however, that says that ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.’
After all, how would we know if Neanderthals spoke, created symbols, or passed on rich cultural traditions?…
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