Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

The Neanderthal Within Us

Ray Argyle

Summer 2021 - The Neanderthal Within Us


Recent studies of artifacts and grave sites indicate Neanderthals were both caring and creative, to a degree beyond anything we’d imagined. Neanderthal families gathered around fires in their caves, children frolicking after weaning around the age of two. Adults attended to the injured and sick. Fossilized bones of Neanderthals who lived to the ripe old age of 30 or 40 were found bearing evidence of injuries, perhaps inflicted by animals they hunted, that had healed but would have left them invalids. Someone cared for them and fed them …


Ray Argyle is the author of eleven books, including biographies of French President Charles de Gaulle and American Ragtime composer Scott Joplin. His latest is Inventing Secularism: The Radical Life of George Jacob Holyoake. A journalist and media consultant, his writing credits include the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Reader’s Digest, France Today, Canada’s History, and World War II History. He is based in Kingston, Ontario.


[IMAGE CAPTION: A plaster reconstruction of l’Homme de la Chapelle-aux-Saints by sculptor Joanny Durand (1886–1955), ©MNHN, Daniel Ponsard, courtesy of the Musée de l’Homme, Paris, part of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle.