Willard Whitson

Skeletal fragments of two dozen fully modern human beings, dating to 92,000 B.P., were discovered 70 years ago in Qafzeh cave (shown here) on the slopes of Mount Carmel, just outside present-day Nazareth, Israel. Qafzeh cave is just a short stroll away from three other caves on Mount Carmel that were occupied contemporaneously by Neandertals. For at least 20,000 years (and possibly as long as 60,000 years), then, Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens neandertalensis lived side by side, enjoying the same vistas, eating the same food, using identical tools, following similar burial practices and perhaps even mating with one another. This eons-long, peaceful coexistence contrasts sharply with developments in Europe, where modern humans completely replaced Neandertal populations within a short period of time some 30,000 years ago.