Some Common Misconceptions: Cavemen and Comment Threads

I have another Your Origins Matter post to share with you. This one is called Meet Your ‘Not So’ Ancient Relatives, and is about “cavemen.”

For decades, at least since Darwin’s time, cavemen have been given little respect.  They have been portrayed as knuckle-dragging near-apes that conked their women on the head with a club and dragged them into their caves by the hair.  Not until The Flintstones did cavemen find a semblance of dignity.  Fred would go to work daily peddling his rock-mobile, while Wilma kept the home all dressed up in her finest pearls.  More recently, cavemen have been given a greater opportunity to show their more “human” side in TV commercials for a leading auto insurance company.  Here, at least, we get the feeling that cavemen really are human after all.

The opening line here (bolded in the original) is impressive. It manages to implicitly blame the negative stereotype of cavemen on Darwin, as if they had previously been considered to be some kind of “knobbly savage” prior to that. To the contrary, wikipedia is of the opinion that the basis of the stereotype dates back to the middle ages. Discounting that poorly-sourced article and concentrating on the actual bones, both Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons – the latter group is entirely ignored by YOM – were only discovered around “Darwin’s time.” It’s difficult to blame him, but doing it implicitly like they did is easy. Continue reading