September 13, 2006

The Neanderthals' last stand

A cave near the tip of Spain might be a candidate for the last surviving encampment of Neanderthal people.

Whenever I read such items, I always think back to Stan Gooch, a maverick British psychologist who advocated for the absorption of Neanderthal into Cro-Magnon people (i.e., us) through interbreeding.

The more recent DNA evidence does not seem to bear out the absorption theory, however.

Gooch offers some other interesting ideas. One was that mythological bulls were really "folk memory" of Neanderthals, who fought with bull-like rushes against their opponents, or so he claimed.

Hence Theseus slaying the bull-man Minotaur on Crete would be a folk memory of fighting Neanderthals in their caves. Likewise Mithras slaying the bull.

Physiologically, the Neanderthal was symbolized by the cerebellum (more developed in them) and Cro-Magnon by the cerebrum.

His recent book The Dream Culture of the Neanderthal argues that "direct descendents of the moon-worshiping Neanderthal are still living in Central Asia today, although they do not physically resemble their ancestors. This influence of Neanderthal occult wisdom remains strong."

Alas for mythic bulls in caves, there is that pesky DNA evidence.

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