While I do not know if we truly are the last Neanderthals (actually pronounced Neandertals), I found John Hawks’ presentation fascinating. It’s interesting how much of it I wouldn’t have understood if I didn’t have the knowledge from just one quarter of AP Biology. An example would be the part where Hawks had two phylogenetic trees with the two main branches as ‘Me’ and ‘You,’ with ‘Neanderthal’ on one of the branches. I thought it was really interesting how something as simple as blood type can be what makes someone more similar to a Neanderthal.
Prior to the presentation, I would not have imagined, or even given much thought about, the nature of Neanderthals – where they lived, what they ate, what they did in their spare time. In fact, I learned they could cook grains, made jewelry with feathers, had projectile weapons, and even started to have the capacity to use their voices. Hawks’ presentation made me realize how much I don’t know about our ancestral history and how much information has been pouring in from recent advancements in technology. The fact that within just the last 15 years, scientists have uncovered three billion base pairs is amazing. It really made me wonder just how much we will learn in the next five, ten, fifty years.