Close Cousins of the Neanderthals

The Homo Genus

Now that we have spoken about Neanderthals at length, it would definitely benefit you to expand your knowledge about the Homo Genus as a whole. Many people mistake both the Homo genus and Homo sapiens to be interchangeable. But this is not the correct expression. Apart from Homo sapiens as we know today, there are several primitive species that can be considered as part of the same genus, but are extinct today. These include the Neanderthal Man (or going by the scientific name, Homo neanderthalensis), Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo naledi, to name the main ones. So while the Neanderthal Man’s fossilized remains and archaic tools have mostly been found across Eurasia, the above list of enlisted species goon to cover almost the entire planet earth, as it existed during the various phases of the Ice Age. For instance, most of the fossils of Homo Erectus have been recovered from Africa, whereas Homo habilis is known to have lived across the vast stretches of South America and East Africa.

Popular Documentaries

As far as getting a visual glimpse of life on earth during the Ice Age and the various primitive Homo species are concerned, documentaries prove to be an excellence source of information. One such American documentary is ‘The Dawn of Humanity’ which has very accurately and  closely portrayed the various rare excavations of the Homo naledi species in various caves of South Africa, forming a popular archaeological zone known as the Cradle of Humankind. This has of course been produced by National Geographic and the narrator is Jay Sanders, with invaluable contributions from leading paleontologists, anthropologists and archaeologists from California, Sydney, Missouri, Duke University, Smithsonian University and so on. It is definitely no mean feat to go about exploring highly remote caves in dense equatorial forests, and thereon be able to showcase prehistoric fossils to a count above 1500 and explain the various implications of the discovery in a single documentary. In all these aspects, the creators and contributors of ‘The Dawn of Humanity’ have performed a stupendous job.

On the Origin of Species

Well, there’s absolutely no doubt that Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ till date remains one of the most significant as well as controversial books on human evolution that have ever been written. Significant because it was the first book of its kind that brought natural phenomena like adaptation, survival of the fittest and evolution as a whole to the forefront; no other book in the past and no other scientist could ever bring about such staunch evidence about the evolution of human beings, on such a large scale with such precise and transparent explanations. The book turned out to be controversial, owing to the fact that it came in direct contrast with the explanation of divine manifestation as explained by all major religions. Nevertheless, be it for the study of genetics, natural selection, each species under the Homo genus, or evolution as a whole, ‘On the Origin of Species’ remains the most monumental book of its kind.