Well folks, it is once again October 23, or as we know it on this blog, International Neanderthal Heritage Day, and so, in honor of my Neanderthal ancestors I have chosen to interpret today’s Inktober prompt as R.I.P. – Rest in Peace.
As discovered at this Neanderthal burial site, the presence of ancient pollen on the skeletons laid to rest has led researchers to speculate that flowers or other plants may have been laid on the body, indicating a ritualistic burial.
This speculation has been contested, as it is also possible that the presence of the flora was the result of rodents bringing in the material for nesting.
Whether they cared for their dead may be contested–but the skeletons themselves show something else. Many had suffered injuries that had healed, indicating that they received care and support from others in their group as they recovered.
So while it may not be true that our Neanderthal ancestors cared for their dead, it does seem that they had the empathic capacity to care for the living.
And so perhaps, the best way we can honor our long dead ancestors is to do the same today and care for each other.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL NEANDERTHAL HERITAGE DAY!!!!
What is Inktober? You can learn more about it here.