Once again, dear readers, look at the redheaded Neanderlady I've uploaded. Then read this article
But first, ignore the silly picture of the reconstruction of a bald Neandertal man, that may be out of date, and in any case, looks kind of thuggish to me. In any case, there are better reconstructions of Neanertals floating around and about. Perhaps, later, I'll upload some.
In the meanwhile, the article's biggest piece of information is that according to the researchers mentioned in the article, Neandertals and "moderns" coexisted for some 2,000 years in a cave in France, called Chatelperron. Now this cave is importent. It's important because certain kinds of "transitional" industries, called, naturally "Chatelperronian" were once thought to have been made by early "modern" humans. Now they have been reliably associated with Neandertal fossils(or bits and pieces of them). They are thought to have been quite "advanced" for Neandertals, and some workers in the field think Neandertals just copied "modern" stone tools without really understanding what they were for. This is a patently silly idea. If you're going to copy something, you'd better have an idea how it is used and what it's for, so you can make your own. This is true whether it's stone tools or computers. And it's now fairly obviousl that Neandertal brains were perfectly capable of comprehending this.
Which brings me to the subject of the article. Which is basically the debate about whether or not Neandertals "mixed" with "moderns" or not. There is now suggestive evidence, partly in the form of certain fossil remains in some parts of Europe, which seem to suggest a mix of Neandertal and "modern" traits to a number of workers. Not everyone agrees with this, as the article points out. And the article takes a lot of pains to point out apparent differences in things like growth rates. I say "apparent" because the claim that Neandertals matured faster and sooner than "moderns", based on growth patterns in teeth, has also been disputed. In fact, every claim the Telegraph article makes for such differences has been disputed --- by somebody. And it's interesting that they seem to have consulted Chris Stringer, who has done a lot of quite valuable work, but at the same time, is pretty much of a "difference monger", some of whose claims have been apparently disproven since he wrote In Search of the Neanderthals in 1993. A lot has happened since then.
But it's also interesting that they quote Paul Mellars, who wrote The Neanderthal Legacy several years later(no, don't try to read this; it's very detailed, but unless you like really "deep" academic stuff, you'll be bored to tears). Because Mellars, according to the article, seems to think Neandertals and "moderns" mixed it up, as they say.
Okay, so now, Gentle Reader, if you have followed me this far, you may be askinig yourselves what I think. For an answer, turn your gaze once again to the Neanderlady whose picture I've uploaded. The heroine of my story looks very like her. . . .and two men are more than interested in her. . . .if you get my drift.