Did Neanderthals Make Art?

I just read an opinion piece that appeared in an online publication Sapiens about Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) and whether they made art. I wanted to check out this article because I remember doing some research on Neanderthals when I was carrying out my undergraduate and graduate work, and I thought the consensus way back then was, “Yes, Neanderthals not only made art but they buried their dead with flowers and cared for the sick,” considered by many to be the first indication of human civilization and consciousness as we know it. But it seems that the circles of debate continue to swirl around these issues.

I recall a biological anthropologist by the name of Jean Marie Auel, a successful novel writer, who had written a series of six novels about Neanderthals at the time modern anatomical Homo sapiens were encountering Neanderthal populations. In fact, one of her books caught the attention of Hollywood and a movie was made based upon her series, Clan of the Cave Bear, staring Daryl Hannah (film by the same name – 1986). At the time there were two predominant theories concerning the extinction of Neanderthal populations, one, they were wiped out by modern humans, or two, they met and made love. The fact that we now know modern humans carry Neanderthal genes would indicated that some intermingling between the two populations did take place. The movie and Auel’s series explore these hypotheses and offer explanations for how these, and other, hypotheses about human development might have occurred.

So check out this recent article and opinion piece by Bruce Hardy and explore some of the fascinating aspects of our human anatomical and cultural development!

Professor Anderson

About Douglas J. Anderson

I'm Douglas J. Anderson, Ph.D., a multifaceted educator with two decades of experience. Holding a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Foundation, an M.A. in Anthropology and Southwestern Archaeology, and a comprehensive Oxford TESOL/TESL/TEFL certificate, I weave together diverse disciplines in my approach to teaching. My academic journey began at Fresno City College, where I honed my archaeological skills, which extended to on-field experience in Californian and New Mexican prehistoric cultures. This practical knowledge, enriched by my master's research on Narbona Pass chert in the Navajo Nation, informs my teaching. Deeply influenced by Dr. Albert Schweitzer's "Reverence for Life" ethic, I aspire to guide minds of all ages, instilling respect for all life forms in my teaching and community activism. My commitment to teaching excellence has earned me several professional awards, including a Master Teacher Award (2015-2016) and Teaching Excellence Awards in Philosophy (2013-2014), and Anthropology (2012-2013) from Front Range Community College in Colorado. I am an essential Subject Matter Expert in Cultural Anthropology for the College of Professional Studies, University of New England. I have expanded my influence beyond traditional academia, contributing as a Peace Corps Virtual Service Volunteer to the Philippine Science High School STEM curriculum. With my wife, Ana María, I devoted nearly three years with the Peace Corps to UNESCO's TiNi children's education program in Ecuador. Today, I share anthropological and related disciplinary insights via my blog and offer academic coaching through Apprentus.
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