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Neanderthals Not Us

Three years ago, we reported on evidence that Cro-Magnon man did not interbreed with Neanderthals in order to produce modern humans, as so many scientists have speculated. Now there's even more proof that the two species went their separate ways, until Neanderthals died out.

The most thorough study to date of Neanderthal DNA, gleaned from ancient bones, points to an early human-Neanderthal split. While the two species have a common ancestry, they do not share much else after evolving their separate ways. This new study also finds no evidence of a genetic mixture between Neanderthals and humans.

But Neanderthals may have been around longer than has been previously thought, living in isolated areas. Anthropologists have found evidence of a Neanderthal refuge in a cave in modern Gibraltar. In LiveScience.com, Charles Q. Choi quotes researcher Clive Finlayson as saying, "While the rest of where they lived was getting colder, down here at the southernmost tip of Europe there were still little pockets of Mediterranean climate, so the world of the Neanderthals there didn't change that much." According to Finlayson, that area still "resembled a European Serengeti," meaning that it was still filled with the types of game that Neanderthals were adept at hunting with their more primitive tools. He says, "Neanderthals made heavy spears for close quarter ambush hunting of large animals such as rhinos or elephants. Tools of modern people were lighter and perhaps more portable for people who were on the move."

Neanderthals went extinct in Europe 35,000 years ago, while modern humans arrived in Western Europe some 32,000 years ago, so the life spans of Cro-Magnon man and Neanderthal man only overlapped for around 3,000 years, and scientists are still trying to find out what the earth was like during that mysterious and short (in geologic terms) span of time.

Art credit: grimp-savvy.com

We recently interviewed Graham Hancock, whose research of prehistoric cave art?as well as ancient drugs?showed him that prehistoric man was much more sophisticated that we may have realized. Some of the abstract symbols on cave walls?the ones that don?t depict animals or fish?are like the symbols seen by UFO witnesses today. We can't explain why that is?but we're working on it (and sometimes fiction is the best way to answer a question like that). Meanwhile, join us for some healing?and if you know someone whose heart needs to be healed, we have the perfect present to give them for Christmas this year. If you want to chat with Echo Bodine this weekend, subscribe today!

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