Primitive medicine

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The Independent Online

Neanderthal man has had a bad press almost since his discovery in the summer of 1856 in the Neander valley in Germany. Indeed it was not long before "neanderthal" became a term of common abuse.

Neanderthal man has had a bad press almost since his discovery in the summer of 1856 in the Neander valley in Germany. Indeed it was not long before "neanderthal" became a term of common abuse.

And how maligned has been our hairy, heavy-browed, robustly built possible forebear. Thanks to the latest archeological digs, we now know that he was capable not only of beating an opponent over the head with a blunt instrument, but also that he knew how to heal such wounds, with care available free at the point of delivery in a sort of primitive version of the National Health Service. We have much to learn from our ancestors.

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