Sunday, July 07, 2024

Neanderthal Aesthetic Capacity

A new paper argues that Neanderthal aestetics were were comparable to those of the best other human ancestors at the time, and rejects areuments that Neanderthals had inferior aesthetic cognitive capacity.

The curious thing, to me, is that a lot of the evidence for aesthetic abilities is from the last 50,000 years, and it is also known that Neanderthals and African hominin interbred about 50k years ago.

There are some possibilities. Maybe the advances were independent. Maybe one group was a cultural influence on the other. That is, one made advances and the other copied them.

Maybe neither group had the cognitive capacity for aesthetics, and only the hybrid hominins had the ability.

If one group was cognitively superior, which was it? Apparently a lot of people assume that it was the African hominin. But as this paper points out, the evidence for that is very weak, and the Neanderthals had slightly larger brains.

Apparently no one wants to believe that the Neanderthals or the hybrids were the superior ones. It is as if anthropologists identify with the African hominins, just because the papers often call them "modern humans" or H. sapiens.

My hunch is that the Neanderthals, and then the hybrids, were the superior ones. Europeans of today are descended from the hybrids.

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