Neanderthal lessons

We can learn an awful lot from the discovery of part of the skull of a Neanderthal off the coast of Zeeland, says Simon Rozendaal in his blog on

So, for the first time, the bone of Neanderthal who lived tens of thousands of years ago has been found in what we call the Netherlands. This is one of the most fascinating things I have experienced… because of the perspective it offers.
It is stimulating, it is spiritually expanding to think that there were people walking around places we now call Amsterdam or Rotterdam or the North Sea 70,000 years ago. So what can we learn from it?
The tv news is no good
I think it is more important than someone getting stabbed in Amsterdam. It is more important that the fact that Geert Wilders – who is getting madder by the day – wants to deport tens of millions of Europeans. It is more important than forecasts that millions of people will die of swine flu. But the news that a tiny part of a Dutch Neanderthal has been found merited such a miniscule part of the main evening tv news, shows how bad it is.
The Bible is no good
It is a nice little book and it is historically interesting, but it means nothing. How can (economic affairs minister) Maria van der Hoeven, (family minister) André Rouvoet, imams and all those other upstanding types in Gods name continue to say that the Bible or the Koran are the world of God?

Plasterk is no good

Ronald Plasterk, the minister of parties has he has come to be known, is not giving any money to research even though he himself was apparently a researcher 70,000 years ago. The finding the brow bone of a Neanderthal shows the North Sea is a massive archive of humankind. Plasterk should have invested a few hundred thousand euros in setting up a sort of prehistoric North Sea institute. We live close to a unique location. What is now the North Sea is full of fossils – of mammoths, of rhinos and people.
The greenhouse gas theory is no good
We think we are so important that we are warming up the climate. So how come the brow bone of a Neanderthal who walked around here 70,000 year ago has been found just 15km off the coast? Sea level was then 120m lower and the North Sea did not exist. Were there cars back then? Did our forebearers use too many ordinary light bulbs? Did they not have double glazing on their windows and did they eat too much meat? No, indeed not. Climate change existed before we people were able to influence it.
Simon Rozendaal is a scientist and journalist. This is an unofficial translation.

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