Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Neandertals made their appearance midway through the 19th century, at a critical moment in intellectual history, when old but comfortable ideas about the human past were beginning to fall apart and new but shocking ideas (such as evolution) were coming in. The old ideas did not explain Neandertals. The new ones, which could, were generally poorly understood. Therefore, no one was prepared for the sight of a primitive-looking skeleton in the human closet. But when such a skeleton appeared in Germany in 1856, in the Neander Valley (or Neandertal in old German), it brought on a sense of denial to its connection to Homo sapiens . The workmen, who had blasted open a small cave in their search for limestone, never realized the significance of their find. Neandertals and present-day Homo sapiens , although they have many similarities, have significant anatomical differences. Neandertals lived 100,000 to 35,000 years ago and ...