I don’t know when LaMa will be back to give a more educated answer, but I can answer in part some of those questions myself:
and do we as Homo Sapiens share some common genes?
Neandertal DNA was first able to be analysed only a short while ago, in the late 1990’s. So there are still very many uncertainties about it.
You have most of the same genes that any Neandertal would have had. Modern man and Neandertals came from the same basic stock, so while I don’t know what the actual percentage of similarity is it would be far closer than that of modern man to chimpanzees.
One of the distinguishing features of our DNA compared to other apes is that two chromosomes in their genes have fused into one chromosome in ours (human chromosome number 2). Thus we have 23 chromosomes, while other apes have 24. I believe that Neandertals also had the conjoined chromosomes that we have, giving them just 23.
There is considerable debate over whether or not we modern humans have Neandertal ancestors. Some paleontologists think that Neandertals did intermix with Homo sapiens. Others don’t. For that matter, there’s still debate over whether Neandertals were merely a subspecies of humans (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, compared to our own current Homo sapiens sapiens) or a totally separate species (Homo neanderthalensis).
I read the books by Jean Auriel years ago, do any of the themes in her books ring true? i.e. very basic language, communal soul, spiritual awareness, inability to learn new processes etc?
I’m under the impression that most paleontologists view those books in much the same way that most historians view Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part 1. Possibly entertaining, but not much more beyond that.
On the matter of language, I remember reading about a find in Israel where they discovered a Neandertal hyoid bone, which is the bone used for speech. And it was pretty much identical to ours. So they probably had the physical ability to speak. They also had actually more brain than we do* and didn’t seem to be lacking any major parts of it, so there’s no reason to suppose that they lacked the mental ability to speak as well. So they probably could have spoken. Whether they did or not, of course, is impossible to say because we have no way to listen to them.
They may have had the concept of art, however, which would strongly imply the ability to communicate. LaMa would be the one to know more about that, though.
We do know quite well that they could learn new processes, however. Their species (or subspecies) was around for at least a hundred thousand years. Their toolmaking changed greatly over that period, meaning that they learned new techniques. Also, different populations lived in different ways; the Neanderals living on the coast learned to make use of their coastal environment, while those living in the mountains learned how to make use of their own habitat’s peculiarities.
Communal soul and spiritual awareness. . .there’s no way to say. It’s not greatly likely, though, that they had any sort of racial memory or telepathy or anything like that. There are just too many problems with those basic concepts.
I was under the impression (please forgive my ignorance, but it is so intersting , but I have 0 knowledge on the subject) that neandertal was almost"bred out” by interaction between H Sapien and them.
I believe that what ended the Neandertal species is one of the most hotly contested of all debates in the field.
Was neandertal totally hairy , or was he more like us?
As far as I know, we only have the DNA that codes for Neandertal hair. We don’t have any preserved specimens of Neandertals with their hair attached. So how hairy they were is very speculative. Many paleontologists don’t think that they were all that significantly hairier than we are, though. I’ve read reports of computer simulations showing that Neandertals would overheat too easily if they were indeed covered in hair.
Also the big question , was he as strong as Arnie?
Again, we don’t have direct evidence. With only skeletal remains, we have to make estimates based on where and how the muscles had been attached to the bones (we can see that by looking carefully at the bones). Strong muscles tend to require certain attachment characteristics that aren’t so well developed on weaker muscle attachments. Then there are all sorts of bone and muscle ratios, bone density measurements, and so on. These clues aren’t perfect, but they give us an idea. Based on that, it’s pretty certain that the average healthy Neandertal was probably stronger than the average modern human. Whether the average Neandertal was as strong as Arnie can only be answered in one way, of course: Governor Arnold vs. Uya the Neandertal in a cage fight, best two out of three! If you’ll book the contestants, I’ll arrange for the popcorn and drink sales.
* Brain size is not an exact measure of intelligence. There’s only a rough correlation between comparative brain size and comparative intelligence when there’s an extreme difference in size amongst somewhat related species. So while having a brain 5% bigger than another hominid doesn’t mean you’re probably smarter, having a brain 500% bigger means you probably are. Of course, part of that also depends on what parts of the brain are bigger or smaller.
If it was just brain size that mattered, whales would rule the world, and we’d be subservient even to cattle.