The original question was: Neanderthals? Did these species exist and when? And there are many scientific evidences on these species. What evidence do you have and could you briefly explain their existence.
Answer by John Mackay
Neanderthal? The word means the valley of Mr Neander, but who was Mr Neander? – Answer Joachim Neander who lived in Germany (1650-1680) and used to visit a little valley just outside of Dusseldorf in order to write his poetry and hymns. He meditated in a cave by a river, and the river came to be named for him as the Neander River, and the valley of that river was called Neander Dale or Neander Thal in old German. His most famous hymn is still in many Christian songbooks ‘Praise to the Lord the Almighty, the King of Creation’.
By strange coincidence Neander’s original surname was Neumann (New man), and as did many Lutheran scholars at the time, he adopted a Greek surname with the same meaning as his German name. Ne means “new” and Ander means “man” as in “andrology” which is the medical study of the male body. A somewhat appropriate label, considering what would be found in the caves of his valley some two centuries later when in August 1856 the remains were found that have come to be called Neanderthal Man, some three years before Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published.
The mid 1800s was a time Charles Lyell’s anti-Biblical push was dominating science, Darwin was on the ascendancy and liberals and unbelievers were poking fun at literal Biblical Creation. Neanderthal man was soon grabbed as evidence of a half-ape, half-man creature, in spite of the fact that Professor Virchow, Germany’s expert on anatomy and founder of the science of ‘pathology’, made the claim the skull was some kind of deformed human being, possibly suffering from rickets and arthritis. Thus was Neanderthal ‘elevated’ to the hairy stooped ape like ancestor of man in museums and textbooks throughout the world.
It wasn’t until the 1950’s when the British Natural History Museum study on Neanderthal began to reveal Neanderthal truly was the victim of Vitamin D deficiency or Rickets, that he began to disappear from some leading museums as a missing link. Last time I was visiting the head of the British Natural History museums human fossil section, Dr Chris Stringer, their original Neanderthal was tucked under the stairs beside the cleaners’ cabinet on the way to the basement.
Since the original discovery in Germany, bones with similar features have been found in a number of sites across Europe and in the Middle East. All studies of Neanderthal anatomy reveal human skeletal features in spite of bone deformities. Modern computer reconstruction techniques have enabled scientists to estimate functions such as hand grip and bite force, and these all fall within the human range. Other scientists have studied tools, artefacts and living spaces made by Neanderthals and found they are all as complex as any other ‘cavemen’ who are classified as fully human. (See link at end of article for these reports) This should be no surprise as the most interesting feature of Neanderthal is that his average brain capacity was some 200 cubic centimetres greater than modern man. So, we now know Neanderthal as being of the human kind human and he is not in any way an ancestor connecting modern man to the apes.
Given that we have also been able to extract genetic material from the bones of the Neanderthal – several other things are evident. 1. DNA studies on one skeleton show about 19 point mutations that do not appear in modern man, so no modern evolutionist is directly descended from that Neanderthal. 2. Since the bulk of our DNA is very close to Neanderthal’s, he and modern man descended from the same common human ancestor and 3. therefore Neanderthal is a degenerate sub group of man who is most probably extinct, so the use of the species name Homo neanderthalensis is totally untestable, since to prove he was a separate species, then by definition you would have to have a breeding program to show Neanderthal could not interbreed with man.
So who in the human or Homo kind were they? Most likely they were part of the original population leaving the tower of Babel who headed North and West where they were afflicted by the increasing cold first recorded in the book of Job some several centuries after the flood and Babel, and which has reoccurred several times later in Asian and European history. Neanderthal seems to have become a victim of his own refuge tactics, and of a possibly dark skin. Choosing caves to live in to survive the cold, particularly if you were black, comes with a high price. If you can’t get enough sunshine which is responsible for making vitamin D in man’s body, which consequently determines where your calcium is deposited, you develop soft bones. If you are growing up while gravity is pushing the top of your skull down, you end up looking very ape-like indeed no matter what volume of brain space your cranial capacity is. Neanderthal is a good example of devolution, not evolution.
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