The Last of the Neanderthals

The Last of the Neanderthals

Such a great article from National Geographic today. The most poignant part, for me:

Evolutionary biologist Clive Finlayson, of the Gibraltar Museum, was standing in the vestibule of Gorham’s Cave, a magnificent tabernacle of limestone opening to the sea on the Rock of Gibraltar. Inside, fantastic excretions of flowstone drooled from the ceiling of the massive nave. The stratigraphy in the cave is pocked with evidence of Neanderthal occupation going back 125,000 years, including stone spearpoints and scrapers, charred pine nuts, and the remains of ancient hearths. Two years ago, Finlayson and his colleagues used radiocarbon dating to determine that the embers in some of those fireplaces died out only 28,000 years ago—the last known trace of Neanderthals on Earth.

Imagine it: the last outpost of the Neanderthals, a tiny remaining group of fur-clad hunters sitting on the edge of the earth, looking out over the ocean as the sun sets, warming their hands around the last fire. Going gently into that good night.

0 thoughts on “The Last of the Neanderthals

  1. “only 28,000 years ago”
    OMG, it’s like they just left. 😀

    That photo is giving me flashbacks to that Clan of the Cave Bear thing you made me read. Still traumatised! xx

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