Philosophy on Tap: Did we kill the Neanderthals?
Thu 21 October 2021 19:00-22:00
The Ship Inn
"Recent finds of Homo sapiens from Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria have been dated to between 46.000 and 43.000 years old, stretching by at least 6.000 years the time-window overlap in Europe with our closest relatives, the Neanderthals. By 40.000 years ago, however, the Neanderthals were gone, and H. sapiens remained the lone survivor of a once bushy genus Homo. Why? Did H. sapiens have some competitive advantage over their cousins? Were we smarter, technologically more advanced, or possessed of some special trait (a fully articulated language maybe) that gave us the edge? Or were the Neanderthals just unlucky? Or did they even go extinct at all: did they instead assimilate into our species? Asking after the disappearance of the Neanderthals requires asking philosophical questions about the nature of extinction, explanation, species and ultimately, what makes us human."