Neanderthal man was more civilized than us: gender equality and no wars

Men and women had the same rights and duties. There was no gender violence and invasions. The latest great discovery - an entire family 'resurfaced' in two caves in Siberia - changes the history (and fame) of our ancestor. Thanks also to an Italian scientist

  Neanderthal-1920 This is how the Neanderthal man was and how he lived

A world where there is absolute equality between the sexes: men and women, same rights and same duties; same duties and tasks within the family and within the social group; zero gender-based violence, zero ideas of the female submissive or dependent on the male and, listen, listen, zero wars.

Alessia Marcuzzi in Piazza Duomo in Milan with pajamas... Alessia Marcuzzi in Piazza Duomo in Milan with pajamas...

OUR ANCESTORS - If you think that we are dealing with a glimpse of the distant future, with man finally purified of those impulses that often characterize our present, you are mistaken: we are talking about the very remote past, when from Europe to the steppes of Asia, caves and ravines were populated by small families of Neandherthals, our very ancient ancestors who inhabited the Earth for 300,000 years until they became extinct and gave way to Homo sapiens, that is to us. Of these hominids, which take their name from the Neander valley, in Germany, where the first fossil remains were found in the Kleine Feldhofer cave in 1856, there are, occasionally, here and there rare fragments of skeletons that science questions.

THE LAST DISCOVERY - The last great discovery took place in the Altai mountains, in Siberia: in the Chagyrskaya and Okladnikov caves, the remains of 13 Neandherthals emerged, seven male and six female, eight adults and five children, all related to each other, as demonstrated from the genetic sequences created by researchers at the German Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, led by the Nobel Prize for Medicine Svante Pääbo. It is the first time in history that an entire family of our very ancient ancestors is found, a father with his teenage daughter, an aunt, perhaps a grandmother, with her nephew, who lived about 54,000 years ago, as established by the Italian scientist Sahra Talamo of the of Bologna, director of the Bravho radiocarbon laboratory (Bologna radiocarbon laboratory devoted to human evolution).

THE BEST IN THE WORLD - Professor Talamo plays a fundamental role in the most advanced paleontology: she is the best in the world for the accurate dating of finds with the radiocarbon 14 technique. Thanks to her, what were mere hypotheses become certainties and the mysterious puzzle of the dawn of times, slowly, it is composed. We owe her the discovery of the first Homo sapiens who lived in Europe, over 45,000 years ago, in the Bacho Kiro cave, in Bulgaria, and of the oldest jewel created by human hands, an ivory pendant decorated with 50 dots, dating back to 41,500 years ago and found in the Stajnia cave, Poland.

THE ROLE OF WOMEN - 'The scientific data collected in the Siberian caves make us reflect on the role that women have always had since the beginning of our evolutionary history', Professor Talamo tells us. “Basically it was the young Neandhertals who moved from one community to another, more or less like modern women who, after marriage, leave their family of origin and enter that of their husband. The members of that ancient Siberian family, male and female, hunted ibexes, horses, bison and collected, even tens of kilometers away from their settlements, the stones they worked to build their tools. Precisely thanks to these movements, different groups had come into contact and were related'.

A TRAGIC STORY - Chagyrskaya and Okladnikov caves also tell a tragic story. 'The fact that those individuals were a family leads us to assume that they all died at the same time or within a short time of each other,' says Sahra Talamo. 'At the moment we can only speculate on the causes of their death: they were probably killed by some natural cataclysm or perhaps by a disease'. Anthropologists explain that the Neandhertals had a stocky and muscular body: the males were tall, on average 165 centimeters and weighed about 78 kilos; women hardly exceeded 155 centimeters for 67 kilos of weight.

NOMADIC, CARNIVORES AND CHINLESS - “Unlike us Homo Sapiens, Neandherthals had practically no chins and a very pronounced forehead. They had dark hair and black eyes,” Professor Talamo tells us. “In the period of maximum diffusion they were in number not exceeding the inhabitants of the center of Brussels, about 200,000, dispersed over an immense surface, from Europe to Asia, up to southern Siberia. They lived in small groups (those of the recent discovery were between 10 and 20 people) and were nomads: they moved, following the herds of animals they hunted, along the waterways. We know that they found shelter in caves and caves, where they slept and worked the skins of their prey and the stones with which they built rudimentary knives and tools for hunting. We also know that they were exclusively carnivores: they did not eat berries, fruits or herbs. In their settlements, burnt animal bones have been found, suggesting that they cooked the meat on fires they lit outside the caves. In general, they had life expectancies of about 30, maximum 40 years”.

THE MYSTERY - “For around 300,000 years, Neandherthals have always remained identical to themselves, leading the same life, practicing the same rites, making the same tools. When Homo sapiens appeared, who built more efficient tools and was therefore a better hunter, the Neandherthals tried to copy him, modifying their very ancient techniques. At one point they became extinct, with the last settlements in the Iberian peninsula and why is still a mystery today, like that of the dinosaurs. What we do know, based on the new, much more accurate radiocarbon dating, is that the Neanderthal and Sapiens civilizations overlapped for about 2,000 years. Genetic analyzes tell us that Neanderthal males mated with Sapiens females, but the reverse never happened. The fact is that today, in the DNA of Europeans there is an average of 2 percent Neandhertal genes, even if some reach 5 percent'.

THE NEANDERTHAL GENES AND THE COVID - And it is a circumstance that does not seem entirely positive: a research coordinated by the Nobel Prize for medicine Svante Pääbo, has highlighted, for example, how among those who catch Covid, those with genetic variants present on chromosome 3 inherited from Neandhertal DNA.

Gino Gullace Raugei