*who are still part “them”…
Evolutionary detective Danny Vendramini argues in ‘Them and Us’ that anthropomorphism -our propensity to see Neanderthals much like ourselves- has blurred western thinking on all things Neanderthals.
He argues that facial reconstructions on Neanderthals based on human faces are misleading, and that primates provide a better analogue for reconstructing facial characteristics of Neanderthals.
If you’re disturbed by these images, there’re a good reason for it. Like other prey species, humans have an innate capacity to recognize our natural predator. What Neanderthals ‘felt’ like is hardwired into our genes. Neanderthal predation was so traumatic that even 28,000 years after the last Neanderthal disappeared, they can still push our buttons.
To quote from Ivan Sanderson’s Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come To Life, page 385:
“I have a fancy that a somewhat extensive galaxy of alleged creatures in the folklore of Western Europe is of this same most pragmatic nature. If you come to look into what was said about Fairies, Pixies, Trolls, Titans, Vampires, Ghouls, Gnomes, Imps, Bogies, Brownies, Elves, Leprechauns, Satyrs, Ogres, and Fauns [as diametrically opposed to “ghosts,” “specters,” “apparitions,” “spirits,” “phantoms,” “wraiths,” “spooks,” “banshees,” “lemures,” or “lorelei,” which were definitely of Class 2], you will find that they may all be summed up by the classic line from the somewhat bawdy old English song that begins “There are fairies at the bottom of our garden”
“Creatures, usually hairy, generally malignant, only rarely benevolent, but perfectly capable of breeding, as well as communicating with human beings, form the basis of these tales. And note, they come in four convenient sizes. The same may be said for all similar types known by whatever other languages all over Europe, North Africa, and a great part of what is today Russia. There seem, indeed, to have been “in the beginning” ABSMs of just the usual four types—pigmy; man-sized [and specifically of the Neanderthaler kind]; giant;[and one more apelike]”