This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Spot the Frippet: Neanderthal.

What? I hear you cry. You're asking us to spot a variety of human that went extinct 25,000 years ago and only ever lived in Europe, the Middle East and a wodge of Russia anyway?

Has the woman gone mad?

Well, the answer to that question is quite probably, but spotting a Neanderthal shouldn't be difficult, for all that.

Of course, if you live in the Neander Thal, that is the valley of the River Neander in Germany, you'll obviously be surrounded by Neanderthal stuff; but even for the rest of us there are bits of Neanderthals all over the place.

No, not bones. Neanderthal bones are very rare, and in fact we don't have a single complete Neanderthal skeleton anywhere. But bits of Neanderthal can probably be found in every town in the world.

You see, the tremendous, marvellous, exciting thing is that Neanderthals didn't really die out at all: instead they joined up with humans and had families, and it turns out that every single human in the world, except for those whose ancestors all come from sub-Saharan Africa, has bits of Neanderthal DNA in every cell.

I don't know about you, but I think that this is an honour.

But...weren't Neanderthals just grunting brutes?

Well, Neanderthal genes and skeletons suggest that there was nothing to stop them talking. And Neanderthal brains were quite a lot bigger than ours, so they wouldn't have been stupid.

Neanderthals did have heavy brow-ridges and big noses, but that doesn't make someone a brute, does it.

No, I'm definitely honoured to be typing this post with partly Neanderthal fingers.

*My soon-to-be-published novel SONG HUNTER is all about Neanderthals, and today I'm starting a new daily blog about the research and the thinking behind the book. It can be found HERE.

All visitors will be really very welcome indeed.

Spot the frippet: Neanderthal. This is easy, so how about trying to spot someone who looks like a Neanderthal? The name comes from the Neander Valley, where the remains of Neanderthals were first found.

1 comment:

  1. I see a lot of Neanderthal in myself too...the short legs, eg. This is nice to know!