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Human Evolution. “Neanderthals on Trial” Documentary

Could Homo neanderthalensis have interbred with Homo sapiens?

Neanderthals could have interbred with Homo sapiens due to the DNA evidence, their inclination to producing paintings, tools, music and pieces of jewelry. As per DNA, the Neanderthal are 99, 7 percent same to human DNA, which is one percent more than in comparison with chimps (Jordan, 2013). They are different in body shape and size, brain capacity, skull shape, the tooth size, form of the jaw and other. Nonetheless, they had a complex culture and were capable of creating pieces of art.

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Neandertals on Trial: How do preconceived notions affect the results of a study?

According to Trinkaus, the ancestors took care of those who suffered from serious injuries (such as the loss of an arm) so that the injured could continue to be functional members of the society, which proves them compassionate (Neanderthals on trial 2002; Robert & Lewin, 2013). In terms of tool technology, Dibble claims that it is difficult to estimate whether the tools were man-made as they could have been rocks that were naturally broken (Neanderthals on trial 2002).

Did Neanderthals have a language?

There is evidence that Neanderthals had a language because their minds were capable of handling the symbolic communication (Stanford et al., 2012). The archeological finding revealed that Neanderthals created and used symbols and ornaments that clearly indicated the behavioral contemporaneity. Moreover, they possessed the language-relevant genes characteristic of modern humans.

In what ways do some splitters anticipate racism?

It should be noted that the European anatomists divided people by racial groups. The Europeans were denoted as the noblest race, while the other races were held as inferior. Some scientists considered the skull sizes, eyebrows’ slopes, and other differentiators as the evidence of the gradation (Stanford et al., 2012).

Were Neanderthals able to plan ahead, have compassion for their fellows and a sense of the afterlife?

Neanderthals were able to plan ahead as evidenced by the fact that they shepherded animals to death by navigating them into a sinkhole. It reveals their ability to communicate as a group and capacity to take advantage of the location or situation (Robert & Lewin, 2013). Regarding the compassion, Neanderthals treated the diseased and tried to soothe others when one of them died (Robert & Lewin, 2013). Moreover, there is evidence of rituals that they held when burying individuals in the ground (for instance, folding the hands of the dead close to the head), which proves their beliefs in the afterlife.


Jordan, P. (2013). Neanderthal: Neanderthal man and the story of human origins. Stroud, UK: The History Press.

Mark Davis. (Director). (2002). Neanderthals on trial [Documentary]. United States: PBS.

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Robert, A. F., & Lewin, R. (2013). Principles of human evolution. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Stanford, C., Allen, J. S., & Anton, S. C. (2012). Exploring biological anthropology. London, UK: Person.

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