Neandertals and Anatomically Modern Humans in Europe.
Investigators of human evolution have for more than a century been fascinated by Neandertals. Early investigators saw in Neandertal the quintessential missing link' between man and ape. They based this viewpoint on the comparatively robust and primitive' features displayed in Neandertal bones and on the use of stone tools that, in the absence of any technological context, appeared to be very crude. As the twentieth century advanced, ideas about Neandertal slowly changed. Evidence was amassed, a multitude of sites excavated, and many volumes of written work describing the lifeways of Neandertal emerged. Neandertal became the best known of our predecessors. Debates raged as to whether Neandertal was indeed a direct ancestor, whether Neandertal was a separate species from H. sapiens, and how and why Neandertals disappeared from the scene. In addition, researchers argued Neandertal's physical and mental abilities including speech and social development. More recently an additional debate has arisen. Evidence suggests that Neandertal and early modern H. sapiens cohabited regions in Western Europe and perhaps elsewhere for thousands of years. In this paper I will explore the timing and nature of this coexistence and models that could sustain it. In addition I will seek to understand the lack of evidence for exchange of knowledge, technology, goods, or culture. Finally, I hope to apply the above to the discussion of why Neandertal was displaced by H. sapiens sapiens. .
The first undisputed resident of Europe was Homo erectus. While Homo erectus fossils and tools have been found both in Africa and Asia well before 500,000 years ago, little evidence exists for their presence in Europe. Some of this evidence is compelling however. Fragments of hominid remains from Heidelberg, Germany, Boxgrove, England, and Mauer, as examples, indicate that H.