If we imagine Neanderthals, we imagine grubby little creatures living in mud and barely able to find caves to stay out of the rain, but it seems we were missing a few things here or there. Not only were they known to have decorated the graves of their deceased with flowers, but they actually wore jewelry, which they formed out of things like scallops and cockle shells before painting them with rudimentary dyes.
Sure, they might not have been gussied up like the kings and queens of old, but they weren’t hairy beasts that wore only untreated animal hides and couldn’t comb their hair to save their lives. We don’t really think they were piercing their ears – without the use of bandages that seems like a losing prospect – but they still had necklaces.
The Eight Missing Species
Three hundred thousand years ago, there were nine members of the human species. About ten thousand years ago, eight of them had disappeared. This widespread mass extinction has never been fully explained, but likely it’s due to a number of reasons. One of the bigger reasons was that Homo Sapiens were ferocious hunters and fighters, and they sent many prey animals to extinction, which likely affected plenty of other species, too.
It could also be that Homo Sapiens, territorial and expansive as we are, fought with other human species for resources, driving those other species to where they were too small to continue without being absorbed by Homo Sapiens. Neanderthals lasted the longest, and some of their skeletons show marks of warfare and battle, showing that they at least tried to fight back. But Homo Sapiens are number one, baby.
That Little Bump in Your Eye
If you’ve ever wondered about the tiny little bump in the inner corner of your eye, it’s a genetic leftover from a third eyelid (as opposed to the top and bottom eyelids). That third eyelid was slightly transparent or translucent, meaning that we could keep our eyes protected while still being able to see. A lot of water-dwelling reptiles and water birds have them since they need to dive down to snag some tasty fish.
Not only does this add a little bit of protection, but it maintains the proper kind of moisture on the eyes – no doubt you’re aware that too little or too much moisture can make your eyes start hurting quite a bit. We wish we could still use this one, but some things have to go the way of the dodo.
We Had Much Thicker Bones Back Then
These days people can break their bones doing all sorts of things, like walking, working out, or petting their dog. We’ve actually heard of someone doing that, it’s real. We have doctors and hospitals and things like that these days, so it’s not something that will lead us to an early grave, but back in the day...as in, like, fifty thousand years ago...our bones were much bigger and thicker.
Just think about it. There weren’t any doctors who could give you some painkillers and a cast – if you broke an arm or a leg, you might be able to make it, but you were pretty much dead. Once humans started to heal up better using science and medicine, our bones started to shrink – no need to use energy for bigger bones if there’s no advantage.
Always Finding New Ages
Historians used to separate ancient and pre-ancient history into a number of specific ages. They were the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age, and they coincided with the development of tools using those substances. While those names were certainly catchy, they ended up being quite vague and hard to define, which is why historians now have a number of other names.
The Stone Age, for example, was split into the Paleolithic era, the Mesolithic, and the Neolithic. It’s a little more confusing, and the names aren’t as fun, but it makes it a lot easier to narrow down when things actually happen when it comes to the development of the human species. The Paleolithic era is when humans as we know them finally appeared out of the muck and mire of the prehistoric world.