I stumbled on this relatively recent recreation of a Neanderthal and it’s striking (1) just how good we are at doing lifelike recreations and (2) how much like us we now understand the Neanderthals to be. I’m not really up on paleontology but I understand there are distinct differences about how we out to classify Neanderthals (as a subset of homo sapiens or as another hominid altogether) as well as what happened to them. Did we absorb them by breeding or did we kill them off. Ronald Wright asked this question in A Short History of Progress and the implications for who we are are fascinating yet disturbing. Are we hard-wired for genocide?
I sort of put that aside, but this image is striking, it made me think of that again. If we were killing off the Neanderthals, we certainly were not killing some hideous other, but rather people who to our paleolithic forebears must have appeared as darn near identical.