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L'Homme de Néandertal, hypothèse d'une Disparition
Musée de l'Homme

Found in Germany 150 years ago, the man of Neandertal is still unknown. The Museum of the man organises, until January 8, 2007, a small exhibition to this cousin of the man modern (Homo sapiens), missing here are 24.000 to 30.000 years, and invites the visitor to make a critical inventory of the various theories emitted to explain his disappearance.
The man of Neandertal goes down from populations of Homo erectus left Africa there are 500.000 to approximately 600.000 years. Those gradually adapted to climates harder than that of their African cradle. Néandertaliens are attested on a broad territory, energy of the Central Asia in Western Europe. They seem, moreover, to have cohabited with populations of men morphologiquement modern, more recently left Africa and made to Europe some 40.000 years ago.
Was this cohabitation fatal in Neandertal? These two humanities are they fought? Did Neandertal succumb to diseases brought by its African competitor? Were the climatic changes fatal with its way of life? Was it, quite simply, less intelligent than his/her cousin sapiens? The exhibition makes it possible to pass in addition to the generally accepted ideas and preconceived. Beautiful examples of lithic industryshow that the techniques of size of Neandertal were comparable with those of sapiens.
Ornaments of shells, wolf's teeth, suggest as for them cultural contacts with modern groups of men or faculties of abstraction and representation of the world close as of ours. As the reconstitution testifies some to the burial néandertalienne discovered in 1908 with Vault-with-Saint (Corrèze), our distance cousin buried his deaths. Did it speak? These various elements, which attest of a cognitive capacity comparable with that of sapiens, indicate it without question. Was it for as much able to articulate the same sounds? The reconstitution, due to the fossils, of its vocal apparatus made it possible researchers to simulate the probable sound of its voice. The effect is seizing: the visitor, by sticking the ear to a wall, can hear the murmur of this reconstituted, serious and major fossil voice, articulating some vowels.
Another element of the exhibition which should irritate the purists but fascinate the public: the setting in scene of the reconstitutions of these prehistoric men, signed of the artist Elisabeth Daynès. How, starting from skeletons, to reconstitute the face of these men? Isn't one a little far from science? Not, answers Evelyne Heyer, responsable of the exhibition, bus if “the complexion of the nose, the mouth, the pigmentation of the skin and the hair remain the object of a free interpretation of the artist, the study and the taking into account of the points of muscular fastener makes it possible to approach their appearance as much as possible”.
Each researcher has a scenario of predilection to explain the disappearance of Neandertal. The assumption which with the preference of Evelyne Heyer is that of an interbreeding with Homo sapiens and a combination of the characters néandertaliens in the populations, more, from Africa.
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