Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis skulls. Not so different? (Source: original from Wikimedia)
Amongst all these recent advances, the story of our understanding of Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) in particular gives us a clear example of how paleoanthropology has changed the way we view the past, setting us on new shores of ways of looking at ourselves and our future.
Neanderthal skeleton. Isolated in a glass case, devoid of a cultural and social context (Source: SmugMug)
Diorama depicting a Neanderthal burial (Source: Flickr)
As a constant reminder of these questions, the Neanderthals have left us a genetic reminder of the time we existed together, of our differences, but also of our many similarities. It is a legacy we are only just beginning to explore.
Remember, you, and that person sitting next to you on the bus, are probably part-Neanderthal. We may not be so different.
A human face: Neanderthal skull with genetic code behind it (Source: original image from Wikimedia, genetic code from The Neandertal Genome)