This article is from
Journal of Creation 35(1):12–14, April 2021

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Neanderthals becoming more modern with time


Reconstruction of a Neanderthal woman_
Figure 1. Reconstruction of a Neanderthal woman

Many people and some scientists still consider Neanderthals the last ‘missing link’ before man. Neanderthals were first discovered in 1856 in the Neander Valley of Germany. They lived during the Ice Age, mostly in caves. Neanderthal Man is often depicted as a brutish caveman. Numerous facial and skeletal reconstructions showed him half ape and half man. But since the first discovery, over 500 skeletons have been found. These reveal the true nature of Neanderthal Man and the bias of evolutionists.

Fossil discoveries showing Neanderthals a people group that left Babel

The depictions of Neanderthal Man have completely changed in the past 50 years. Although once thought to have a brain about 10% larger than modern man, a better analysis shows that Neanderthals had only a slightly larger brain than modern man,1 which is three times the brain volume of an ape. This should have been powerful evidence that Neanderthals were humans like us. Neanderthals buried their dead with flowers, a distinctly human trait.2,3 Sometimes Neanderthals were found buried with modern humans.4 It is likely they built boats based on remains from Mediterranean Sea islands.5,6 Neanderthal Man likely crossed the Gibraltar Strait. All of these discoveries or deductions indicate early people, including Neanderthals, and even Homo erectus,7 built boats and could navigate the seas. And had much more intelligence than evolutionists have given them credit for.

At one time, paleoanthropologists believed Neanderthals were physiologically incapable of complex speech.8 A Neanderthal hyoid bone was discovered in Israel in 1989 that was very similar to that of modern humans. The hyoid bone, from the region of the throat, is not connected to any other bones. It is very important for controlled speech. However, this did not satisfy many skeptics that Neanderthals could speak like modern man. Based on newer technology, the internal structure and micro-biomechanical features of the hyoid bone were analyzed.9 The results were consistent with Neanderthals having complex speech, the same as modern humans. However, some skeptics were still not satisfied. They declared that just because Neanderthals had all the features needed for complex speech, it does not prove that they talked like us. And besides, it was only one sample. From the new research, the old adage can be applied: “If it quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it must be a duck.”

Moreover, human hyoid bones have also been found with other Ice Age people groups.9 For instance, Homo heidelbergensis, the supposed ancestor of Neanderthals, had two human hyoid bones found at Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain.10 These cave fossils were at one time thought to be Neanderthal, giving good indication that they were no different than Neanderthals. However, they are now considered Homo heidelbergensis,11 likely because they date the fossils to half a million years—too old for Neanderthals.

Neanderthal Man is also believed to have lived in the foothills of the western Ural Mountains just south of the Arctic Circle.12,13 Apparently, they were smart enough to survive in what uniformitarian scientists assume was a very cold environment during the Ice Age.14

Neanderthal Man had the controlled use of fire.15,16 The evidence for this consists of 165 stones and stone artefacts, and several hundred animal-bone fragments found in a Spanish cave that display signs of heating up to 400– 600°C, consistent with fire. Since the evidence was found about 8 m (26 ft) inside the cave, the researchers thought it unlikely that the signs of controlled fire were caused by sparks from a wildfire.

Scientists have also discovered the remains of an annular construction found 336 m (1,100 ft) within another cave in south-west France attributed to Neanderthals.17 They discovered a regular geometry of broken stalagmite circles with several traces of fire. This is the first evidence scientists found displaying Neanderthal’s construction ability and revealing a complex social network and evidence of communicating for a given end, to build a home within the cave.18 Thus, “humans from this period had already mastered the underground environment which can be considered a major step in human modernity.”19 However, these scientists are speaking from the point of view of evolution. Neanderthals did not need a major step toward humanity; they were already fully human. The authors also conclude:

“Until now no evidence has been found for regular Neanderthal incursions into caves, except for a possible case of footprints, and Neanderthal constructions inside caves, at least at a distance that is no longer exposed to daylight, were totally unknown.”20

The cave findings support other human abilities of Neanderthals including painting sophisticated images on cave walls,21 jewelry making,22,23 and painting perforated marine shells for body jewelry.24 Neanderthals probably made bone flutes, and so could also make music.25-27 It had been controversial whether Neanderthal Man painted on cave walls, but new evidence indicates that they did indeed produce cave art. They did it before ‘modern’ people supposedly entered the area. The researchers even suggest that Neanderthal Man may have taught the skill to modern man. Art is also a human characteristic.28,29

Neanderthal Man was a sophisticated hunter and ate a diversity of food, including mushrooms.30,31 They not only ate meat but also ate vegetables, fish, and birds, and hunted small, fast game such as rabbits. They even cooked their food.32 The Neanderthals used string, suggesting a high level of sophistication.30 Hardy et al. also noted that much is missed in archaeology because of biases in what the researchers believe and therefore look for. Moreover, the new results challenge the idea that innovation came late with the Neanderthals and was passed on by modern man.

The recent discovery that a slight majority of Neanderthals had mild to severe swimmer’s ear, same as some modern humans, suggests that they dove for aquatic food.33 Swimmer’s ear is a bony growth in the ear caused by frequent diving, likely for fish or bottom animals. This find could point to a level of adaptability and flexibility in Neanderthals. No fishbones had been found associated with Neanderthals, but a new report by Zilhão et al. from caves along the coast of Portugal discovered that Neanderthals ate a wide variety of marine organisms, such as marine invertebrates, fish, marine birds and mammals, tortoises, and waterfowl.34 Generally, their diet was terrestrial. Most of the Neanderthal fossils analyzed lived far inland, although they are associated with rivers and lakes. Swimmer’s ear can also be caused by living in a damp, windy environment, which would have typified the Ice Age climate that followed the Genesis Flood.33

In summary, archaeology now confirms that Neanderthal Man had numerous abilities that are attributed to modern man. The evidence is inescapable that Neanderthal Man was just a people group, who left Babel, and settled in Europe and western Asia (figure 1). Ingrained ideas die hard, but the number of evolutionists who still consider Neanderthal Man primitive are dwindling. Hopefully, it will soon be zero.

Neanderthals intermarried and were absorbed into modern man

Secular scientists have two theories on why Neanderthal Man disappeared. One is that he interbred with and was absorbed within modern man. The second is that Neanderthals went extinct, possibly killed by other humans or even from climate change. Climate change seems unreasonable, since Neanderthal Man survived during the Ice Age. The first possibility is now supported by genetics that shows Neanderthal Man was absorbed into modern man through reproduction.35 We know this from the DNA of Europeans and Asians today, which contains about 1 to 4% Neanderthal DNA.36 Some people from that region still show Neanderthal-like skull features. Even Africans have Neanderthal DNA, as well as all other people of the world.37 We all have Neanderthal DNA.

Neanderthal Man was a ‘caveman’,38 but he was very intelligent. They were not half ape and half human as the culture tries to portray them. Cavemen are simply people who live in caves. Some people live in caves today, and have electricity and TVs! The insides of Neanderthal caves were laid out like houses. They had covered dwellings within the cave, based on post holes found in the cave sediments. It is likely their ‘houses’ were covered with animal skins providing warmth and privacy.39


Posted on homepage: 17 June 2022

References and notes

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  6. Oard, M.J., Post-Flood man continues to become smarter, J. Creation 27(3):3, 2013. Return to text.
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  11. Line, P., Homo heidelbergensis: in: Bergman, J., Line, P., Tompkins, J., and Biddle, D. (Eds.), The Apeman Controversy: A thorough examination of modern human evolution claims, Bartlett Publishing, Oklahoma City, OK, chapter 17, 2021. Return to text.
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  17. Oard, M.J., More expansion of fossil time ranges, J. Creation 33(3):3–4, 2019. Return to text.
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  20. Jaubert et al., Early Neanderthal constructions deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwestern France, p. 114. Return to text.
  21. Oard, M.J., Neandertals produced cave art, J. Creation 32(3):11–13, 2018. Return to text.
  22. Wade, L., Neandertals made jewelry, proteins confirm, Science 353:1350, 2016. Return to text.
  23. Balter, M., Neandertal jewelry shows their symbolic smarts, Science 327:255–256, 2010. Return to text.
  24. Zilhão, J., et al., Symbolic use of marine shells and mineral pigments by Iberian Neandertals, PNAS 107(3):1023–1028, 2010. Return to text.
  25. Conard, N.J., Malina, M., and Münzel, S.C., New flutes document the earliest musical tradition in southwest Germany, Nature, 460:737–740, 2009. Return to text.
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  27. Oard, M.J., Further expansion of evolutionary fossil time ranges, J. Creation 24(3):5–7, 2010. Return to text.
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