SMU Prof on Team That Begs: Stop Calling Neanderthals "Stupid"

Big, big science news this morning: Neanderthals weren't as dumb as they looked. It's in all the U.K. papers today, as one member of the team that made the discovery that stupidity was not the Neanderthals' cause of extinction hails from the University of Exeter; the discovery also turns up in the Journal of Human Evolution, where the findings are being published this week.

Among the four team members was SMU's own professor of anthropology Garth Sampson, who helped his fellow archaeologists reproduce the Neanderthals' stone tools -- took three years -- to determine how, well, "cutting-edge" they really were. The result? Says Exeter's Metin Eren, "When we think of Neanderthals, we need to stop thinking in terms of 'stupid' or 'less advanced' and more in terms of 'different.'" Which is the same thing my parents have said about me since the day I was born. --Robert Wilonsky