Neandertal - Cro-Magnon

Last week’s post was a story about Vertic Almann and Upp Rytemann, fictional Homo erectus hunters. Vertick joined the first great Homo migration out of Africa about 500,000 years ago. Homo is the genus of hominids that began with Homo habilis (about 2.5 million years ago) and includes modern men. The great migration was slow, taking more than 100,000 years. During that time, Homo erectus spread all across the northern hemisphere of the old world. Because of the great distance, groups evolved in different ways, including Java Man, Peking Man, and many others.

In Europe and the Middle East, Homo erectus gradually evolved into the Neandertals about 200,000 years ago. Many consider them to be the first Homo sapiens. Their DNA differs from modern men by only 0.12% – close enough that interbreeding was possible. Neandertals are Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.  In Africa, the descendants of Upp evolved to become modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, about 100,000 years ago.

About 80,000 years ago, the second mass migration out of Africa began. This time, the Cro-Magnons (Homo sapiens sapiens) spread throughout the world. Every place they went, they replaced the descendants of the first migration. When it was over, only the Cro-Magnons were left. However, modern DNA science has shown that some Cro-Magnons did breed with Neandertals and traces of Neandertal DNA still remain in many modern humans.

When Cro-Magnons reached Europe and the Middle East (about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago) Neandertals were dominate. Within 15,000 to 20,000 years, all archeological evidence indicates that Neandertals had become extinct.  During that period, Cro-Magnons and Neandertals lived in the same land and most certainly there was interaction – the traces of Neandertal DNA in modern humans testify to that. Many theories exist about the cause of the Neandertal extinction.

In Heart of the Bison an important interaction between Neandertals and Cro-Magnons is depicted. A clan on Neandertals struggles to survive. A powerful Spirit Fire is given to the clan, and a new teaching is introduced; a teaching, along with ceremonies, that will strengthen their ties and hide their existence from their contemporaries and modern archeologists. 

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