Friday, November 6, 2009

The Real Neanderthal Man

Today on Cosmic visions we will take a journey through time and visit Europe during the last ice age and encounter a remarkable group of people.

Some forty two thousand years ago, the only living humans in Europe made clothes, educated their young, made tools. But they were not us. Now twenty first century science can reveal exactly how they lived, the dangers they faced and the communities they made in the Neander valley of Germany.

In 1856, two workers found sixteen bones in a limestone quarry in the Neander Valley, east of Düsseldorf. It was originally thought the bones belonged to a cave bear, but they were subsequently found to be the remains of an early human quite distinct and different from our own species.

Now more than one hundred and fifty years after their discovery these bones along with recently discovered bone fragments associated with the original fossil finds reveal some remarkable details concerning the life of this individual.

And, with the aid of DNA samples recovered from the original fossils we are beginning to build a genetic library that will shed light on how closely related the Neanderthal species was to our own. This genetic research poses another outstanding possibility. Could we one day resurrect this individual and his contemporaries by cloning them?

These and other recent discoveries paint a totally different and more humane portrait concerning this man and his contemporaries. A portrait that highlights some remarkable facts concerning Neanderthal man’s tool manufacturing technology, his social organization and his spiritual beliefs.