We have already established that Neanderthals intermarried with “modern humans.” This seems to suggest that they were, in fact, human. But apparently, the debate rages on.
This Smithsonian article about eagle talon jewelry poses the question,
“Did our extinct cousins engage in symbolic activities, like making art and decorating their bodies, that we’ve long believed were uniquely human?”
“Chatelperronion artifacts, including stone tools and tiny beads, have been linked with Neanderthals in southwestern France and northern Spain.” It seems as if “tiny beads” would be trickier to make than eagle talon jewelry. Yet, the idea that Neanderthals engaged in “symbolic thinking” remains “extremely controversial.” It seems that there is a rather high bar that Neanderthal art will have to vault in order to convince their modern descendants that they were, in fact, people. Their art hasn’t passed that bar yet … at least, not among the tiny number of examples that the millennia have allowed to be preserved.