I've mentioned the BBC programme The Incredible Human Journey before. Well I'm still captivated by it. Shows my ignorance I suppose that I knew so little about the colonisation by earlier humans.
Last nights episode was about the colonisation of Europe starting about 40,000 years ago. I didn't know about the Nethanderals already here and in large numbers. They were pushed increasing west as humans came in and the last known enclave was at Gibraltar. One thing recent DNA sequencing shows that there was no interbreeding between the two groups.
Now for me the most enlightening part and something either I had heard before or had built into my own belief structure was that art was one of the separating factors between the two groups. Nethanderals may have had tools as good or possibly better than us, been probably stronger physically and had slightly larger brains but we had art and spiritualism. Some learned people now think this is why we prospered and they failed in that we were bound together as a greater group. The programme showed the earliest know European musical instrument - a flute.
After the ice age a second wave of newcomers brought the Venus figures with them again showing a widescale link of a common culture and one no doubt with spiritualism or religion at it's heart.
Absolutely fascinating. Oh yes and 10% of all modern Europeans can trace themselves back to one woman apparently the DNA tells us... they have named her Europa. Finally the programme showed where farming started in southern Turkey, do you know that all domestic arable crops can be traced to wild grasses cultivated there. Again mind boggling to me.