1834 Cro-Magnons

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Édouard Lartet, Louis Lartet primatology Cro-Magnons


A place in time


I have stubbornly resisted the idea that our own kind is special in the capabilities of our hearts or minds. Other animals also have hearts and minds and it is narrow-minded to assume that they do not use them in the same ways we use ours. Our record of intelligence is not matched by our ability to control and to manufacture; other animals have better histories of survival without killing others or destroying the environment that their survival depends on. The fact that Cro-Magnon and Neanderthals are gone today does not show that they were incapable of surviving, accepting the possibility that our ancestors killed them. Our record of narrow-mindedness and lack of sympathy to others is well established and might be blinding us to the fact that they are us.

The discoveries of Édouard and Louis Lartet did a little to overthrow our self-centeredness.

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