Neanderthals: Fully Human

on July 24, 2010

Scientific American: “Our Neandertal BrethrenEvolutionists, like creationists, believe that Neanderthals were fully human, the same species as we are.

“[W]e must reclassify Homo neanderthalensis as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, a subspecies of Homo sapiens,” writes evolutionist Michael Shermer, reporting on a study published in Science that we covered in May. The study revealed that a small percentage of those living in Europe and Asia inherited genes from Neanderthals. “In other words, our anatomically hirsute cousins are actually our genetic brothers,” Shermer declares, referencing the work of evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr.

Neanderthals were not a separate species that went extinct.

Thus, according to the current evolutionary interpretation, Neanderthals were not a separate species that went extinct; “instead population pockets of Neandertals died out around 30,000 years ago, whereas other Neandertal populations survived through interbreeding with their modern human brothers and sisters, who live on to this day.”

Given the plentiful evidence that Neanderthals were highly intelligent—along with how slight the anatomical differences between “modern” humans and Neanderthals are—creationists have long argued that “Neanderthal” simply refers to the remains of certain humans with bulky builds and related characteristics, the result of genetic differences but perhaps exacerbated by conditions such as rickets.

Of course, evolutionists do not accept that “Neanderthals” descended from Adam and Eve through Noah, as biblical creationists do; nor that the humans known as Neanderthals lived only a few thousand years ago (rather than tens of thousands of years). Many creationists also believe that other taxonomic groupings (e.g., Homo erectus) describe beings who were fully human and hence our ancestors. Perhaps evolutionists will one day come to the same conclusion.

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