Ernst Haeckel, inventor of the deceptive embryo chart and Java Man, also helped spread the Neanderthal myth. The first edition of his book History of Creation in 1868 featured a series of drawings depicting man evolving from apes--mandrill, monkey, gibbon, orangutan, chimpanzee, gorilla, Tasmanian, African Negro, Australian Negro, Fuegian, Chinese, Indo-German. Haeckel being German, placed his own “race” as the crown of evolution. In 1907, Haeckel described Neanderthal as a pre-human and placed him between Pithecanthropus (Java man) and Homo Australis, which he called “the lowest race of recent man.” This reflected Haeckel’s racist view that the Australian aborigines represented the lowest stage in full human evolution. Haeckel misrepresented Neanderthal’s brain capacity at 1270 cc, which is less than the average for modern man, when in reality the brain capacity was 1560 cc, which is larger than average.
After the discovery in 1908 of a nearly complete Neanderthal skeleton in La Chapell-aux-Saints in France, French paleontologist Marcellin Boule (1861-1942) of the Laboratory of Paleontology in the Museum of Natural History in Paris, added his authority to the evolutionary myth. Boule believed that Neanderthal was a branch of ape-men who became extinct without giving rise to modern humans. Between December 1908 and June 1909 Boule reported to the Academy of Sciences that Neanderthal was ape-like in many characteristics, including the skull and “a divergent great toe.” He believed that Neanderthal did not walk erect like modern man but walked pigeon-toed like an ape with a bent-knee gait.
In 1909, Frantisek Kupka drew a sketch of Neanderthal as a stooped, hairy ape-man gawking wildly with a club in his hand. It was published in the Illustrated London News. (shown at top)In 1930, Frederick Blaschke modeled a Neanderthal family in a cave setting, based on Boule’s interpretation. They were stooped, half-clothed, clutching bones, and had very unintelligent expressions. This was set up as a permanent display in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and was copied in countless textbooks, encyclopedias, journals, popular magazines and newspapers, and museums.
This is the view that prevailed for nearly half a century, but it was pure speculation that went far beyond the actual evidence.
The prevailing view ignored the fact that Neanderthal skeletons had been found together with tools and weapons, and there was evidence of a developed social culture. They buried their dead (the La Chapell-aux-Saints man had been formally buried), used fire, constructed shelters, skinned animals.
The prevailing view also ignored the fact that there were “stone age” tribes of people in several parts of the world during the first half of the twentieth century that lived primitive lives but were obviously fully human, so there was no compulsion to label Neanderthal as some sort of missing link or pre-human. The fact is that the paleoanthropologists were blinded by their evolutionary zeal so that they saw what they wanted to see.
The prevailing view further ignored the fact, often pointed out by creationists and even some evolutionists, that there are people living today who look like the so-called Neanderthals--short and stocky, with heavy eyebrow ridges, etc. In fact, in 1910 a living specimen of a Neanderthal was found, “complete with the massive lower jaw, receding chin, heavy eyebrow ridges, small muscular frame, and short femur” (Taylor, In the Minds of Men, p. 211). The anatomist who carefully measured this individual also observed that the Tay Tay people of the Philippines display distinctive Neanderthal features (Taylor, p. 461). In fact, many Australian aboriginals also look like “Neanderthals.”
The prevailing view ignored, too, the fact that the brow-ridge of Neanderthal is clearly not that of an ape. “In the case of the ape, the prominent orbital ridge over the eyes is the result of the thickening of the edge of the bone over the eye; in the case of all men, including the Neanderthal Man, the brow-ridges are the result of the uniting of two bones, one of which is joined to the nose and the other to the opposite side” (Patrick O’Connell, Science of Today and the Problems of Genesis, 1959, p. 94).
After decades of parading the supposed ape-men Neanderthals before the world and influencing the thinking of millions of people, scientists finally gave the old boy a second look. Since the 1960s, a new view of Neanderthal has gradually emerged. Neanderthal has even been reclassified as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, a “sub type” of modern man, though some evolutionists still hold to the old classification.
A January 2010 editorial in The Guardian said, “It seems we have all been guilty of defaming Neanderthal man” (“In Praise of ... Neanderthal Man,” Jan. 13, 2010).
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