Happy 2008! This is my first post of the New Year. And, whenever I can't think of anything else to blog about, I'll find something about Neandertals. Or medieval stuff, since my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece contains both. Like today, for instance. National Geographic has a piece on the latest study on Neandertals. The study itself was written up in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Seems Eugene Morin, the archaeologist who conducted the study, concluded that an increasingly cold climate and glacial advances around 40,000 years ago caused some Neandertal extinctions all right. But. . . .he claims that because some food supplies dwindled(the site he studied had mostly reindeer/caribou bones) some of them adapted in ways that are traditionally claimed to be "modern". For instance, he claims they expanded their social networks. He also claims that "modern" humans didn't really "invade" Europe until about 10,000 years ago, and by that time, there weren't any Neandertals. Or maybe there were, sort of. They had, according to Morin adapted, and interbred and evolved in various ways, into "modern" humans.
Whether or not there's "anything" to this study, it's interesting, because other archaeological studies seem to suggest, rather strongly, that Neandertal behaviors were mostly, if not wholly, indistinguishable from "modern" ones, except for what nowadays would fall into the sphere of "cultural differences". It is these sorts of studies that partly form the basis of my story. No medieval "moderns" can recognize any significan behavioral differences between themselves and the Neandertals, who have come from a planet in a nearby solar system, to save "moderns" from themselves, though they do have some rather peculiar abilities which they carefully try t6o keep hidden from the "moderns. And no, they don't entirely "save humans from themselves". It would be nice if they could, though.