Neanderthal man had been extinct for roughly 20,000 years by that time, leaving simple tools, but little physical evidence of an abstract creative imagination. The Neanderthals expressed the rudiments of a projected inner life, as evidenced by the care taken in the burial of the dead, but lacked the keen abstraction of his vigorous competitor.
By the time modern man had inherited the Earth, his genetic make up had been shaped by four, possibly five million years since his destiny had become distinct from related primates.
Without direct observation, our understanding must be built from interpolations and extrapolations from meager data. Inferences can be drawn from studies of climatic change, the residue of contemporaneous plant and animal life, and the early products of man himself.
Looking backward at our primevality, we must content ourselves with surmise to a greater extent than most science would be comfortable with. A great deal is plausible, but not so much is conclusively provable.
© 1995 Morgan Garwood
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