Our Image of Neanderthals Is All Wrong: The First Skeleton Was Arthritic

By Karen Harris
Neanderthals...smart, creative, and upright. Source: (science.howstuffworks.com)

When you say the word "Neanderthal" to most people, the image that pops into their heads is that of a stooped, stocky, primitive humanoid creature that lacked the intelligence and physical prowess for his species to survive what Charles Darwin called the "survival of the fittest." The slow, clumsy, stupid Neanderthal, so it was thought for decades, lost out to the superior Homo sapiens for the top spot in the animal kingdom. Now, however, we are learning that those mythic depictions of Neanderthals were all wrong. The real Neanderthals were smart, upright, creative, and well-suited for their environment. Let's look at how the Neanderthals acquired their erroneous reputation for being lumbering meatheads and how that image is changing