Glacier National Park

Neanderthals lived in Nuclear Family groups. Evidence from excavations indicate that these groups of 13 to 15 individuals were mixed with all ages from elders to small children. To survive in the world they inhabited, they had to depend upon one another, work together for the security and safety of the young and old. Without the support of their family groups their very survival was in jeopardy.

,Some excavations being studied look like gathering places for family groups where they could trade, share the bounty of hunts, acquire tools and weapons and, like all other human beings; catch up on the happenings in the greater world. Survival depended on cooperation between the small family groups. People with an invested interest in one another can accomplish much more than an individual alone.

An amazing thing happened after we released our first Face Book video introducing The Original Neanderthal to a wider audience. I received a message from my first cousins on my paternal side of the family. Like many folks of my generation, generation X, I grew up a latch key kid after my parents divorced. I remember that as a small child up through middle school years we had strong family ties. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were all close by. When the divorce happened it was like we divorced a whole side of the family and I lost touch with my paternal relatives. I would see them mainly at funerals and I would promise to be in touch and the years passed.

The messages from more than one cousin came on our Face Book page. They told me they were intrigued by our new venture and wanted to see our products and they wanted to support us. I loaded up a couple of tubs of our merchandise and rolled to the family farm where I had spent my early childhood. Much had changed, but the things that mattered the most had not. I spent the afternoon catching up on too many years gone by. I left warmed by their enthusiasm and wondering how and why I had let that side of my family alone for so long.

There is warmth and truth to be found in close family ties that should provide a shelter for our battered souls. There is a common past from which we spring that should be a foundation for our growth and a bastion for our preservation.

Our society has, for reasons unknown, devalued the Nuclear Family unit, and as the schisms grow our very survival as a viable culture seems in jeopardy. It used to be that family was the one place where they had to take you in. Now the family unit itself is in danger as radical ideology runs rampant through popular culture.

When the day ends and you look up from your tasks, who do you see? Who cares? Who has a vested interest in your well being and success? Who do you love? Who loves you? Families were the backbone of our Nation and we were strong. As the family unit weakens we jeopardize what matters most.

The extinction of the Neanderthals tells the tale of deteriorating family life. As the climate became harsher, family groups became more isolated, food became harder to acquire and interbreeding weakened the species. The appearance of Homo sapiens didn’t help matters for the Neanderthal either. With the rise of modern man the Neanderthals faded to history. We should embrace what made them strong and avoid what contributed to their decline. Embrace your family.

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