The Talking Neanderthals: What Do Fossils, Genetics, and Archeology Say?


  • Sverker Johansson


Did Neanderthals have language? This issue has been debated back and forth for decades, without resolution. But in recent years new evidence has become available. New fossils and archeological finds cast light on relevant Neanderthal anatomy and behavior. New DNA evidence, both fossil and modern, provides clues both to the relationship between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, and to the genetics of language. In this paper, I review and evaluate the available evidence. My conclusion is that the preponderance of the evidence supports the presence of some form of language in Neanderthals.