Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 16th, 2007
What would happen if a small relict band of Neandertals (Homo neanderthalensis) was discovered? What if they learned to speak some language known to modern humans (Homo sapiens) and tried to integrate into our society?
For hominologists, such questions have been pondered for years, due to the fact that many of us have considered it a real possibility that Neandertals are behind reports of nuk-luk, Bushman, wudewasa (Eurasia’s Woodpeople) and other unknown hairy hominid sightings and encounters. (See The Field Guide of Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates, specifically on “Neandertaloids,” pages 13, 23-26, 52-53, 90-91, 118-119, and 170.)
The issue has been brought to the fore, since 2005, with the running of the American auto insurance company GEICO ads on “Cavemen.” The notion behind the televised commercials is that an advertising agency has created a series of ads about car insurance with the tagline, “So easy a Caveman can do it.” Unknown to the ad agency, “Cavemen,” which are Neandertals, are still around, and are greatly offended by the ad campaign.
The commercials – several of them shown directly below in a 2.5 minute YouTube collection – have become very successful, due to how funny they are (unless you are a Neandertal).
Seeing the success of these ads, the ABC Network, which is in a multiyear ratings slump, has taken a bold move in one of their new approved series. In addition to giving the greenlight to sure hits like “Cashmere Mafia” (from the writer who wrote “Sex in the City” and steered by “Break Up” director Peyton Reed), comes a prehistoric surprise.
ABC’s 2007 Fall television schedule is listing the new comedy “Cavemen,” adapted from the GEICO commercials as an offbeat commentary on ethnic prejudice from the perspective of three 30-something-year-old Neandertals living in the modern world…of Atlanta.
Okay, it might be funny on television now, but won’t GEICO and ABC be very upset when in the real world, let’s project, some modern Russians, Mongolians or North Americans finally discover a group of relict Homo neanderthalensis survivors!?
They’ve been warned.
Wait until those floodgates open.
(Footnote: I follow the stylistic and spelling movement occurring within anthropology, begun in Germany, the USA and elsewhere, but not in the UK, to replace “Neanderthal” with “Neandertal.” The word “Neanderthal” is an old German word for “Neander” (a specific river’s name) + “thal” (valley), used to acknowledge where the first fossils of these hominids were found and described. The Germans did a revision of their spellings in 1904, so today “Neandertal” is preferred. Nevertheless, because of the historical scientific naming of these fossil hominids before the change to modern spelling, the Latin name Homo neanderthalensis retains the “h.” But as anthropologist John Hawks says in his “Neandertal vs Neanderthal” blog: “Never forget: all the cool kids write it with a ‘T'”.
Also, I am in the “species school” regarding Neandertals as Homo neanderthalensis versus the “subspecies camp” that still views these fossils as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.)
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.