In the summer of 1856, workers quarrying limestone in a valley outside Düsseldorf, Germany, found an odd looking skull. It was elongated and almost chinless.
William King, a British geologist, suspected that this was not merely the remains of an atypical human, but belonged to a typical member of an alternate humanity. He named the species Homo neanderthalensis: Neanderthal man.
Guided by racism and phrenology, he deemed the species brutish, with a “moral ‘darkness.’” It was a label that stuck.
Recently, however, after we’d snickered over their skulls for so long, it became clear we had made presumptions. Neanderthals weren’t the slow-witted louts we’d imagined them to be.
There are a lot of ways to listen to ‘The Daily.’ Here’s how.
We want to hear from you. Tune in, and tell us what you think. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Michael Barbaro on Twitter: @mikiebarb. And if you’re interested in advertising with “The Daily,” write to us at email@example.com.
Additional production for The Sunday Read was contributed by Emma Kehlbeck, Parin Behrooz, Carson Leigh Brown, Anna Diamond, Elena Hecht, Desiree Ibekwe, Tanya Perez, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Margaret Willison and Kate Winslett. Special thanks to Mike Benoist, Sam Dolnick, Laura Kim, Julia Simon, Lisa Tobin, Blake Wilson and Ryan Wegner.