"They were the brutes of Ice Age Europe. Although a branch of our human family tree, they were seen as a dead end, deep in our prehistoric past. They were called Neanderthals.
They etched out a marginal existence, hunted by brute force, with only simple stone tools. They were considered primitive with no language, art, or the higher-level thinking of advanced species like us.
They began to disappear 40,000 years ago, as modern humans, our species, came on the scene.
But this primitive picture is being replaced by a different image of Neanderthals. It's bringing them much closer to us, as genetic evidence revises our human family tree and reveals their mysterious presence right within our genes.
Now archaeologists are finding new evidence to resolve bitter debates. In tool-making, they're seeing signs of language. A new Neanderthal mind emerges. And if scientists are finally finding the real legacy of the Neanderthals buried deep in our history and our genes, what does it say about all of us?"
The above comes from the preview of this exceptional documentary about Neanderthals, our closest extinct ancestor.
This program looks at such topics as the technologies of Neanderthals, their intelligence, and their genetic makeup. (The genetic studies on Neanderthals took about four years to complete.)
The end of this program asks the question:
"Why are we [humans] still here and the Neanderthal not?"
The answer to this question may shock you.
Finally, throughout this documentary are brief comments made by university professors, geneticists, etc.
In conclusion, this is an exceptional program that may radically change your perception of Neanderthals. I leave you with this documentary's last words:
"We're finding out that we owe a debt to a mysterious, long-vanished branch of the human family in ways we are only just beginning to discover."
(2013; 55 min; wide screen; 6 chapters; PBS--NOVA)
<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>