It was a Sunday morning when I encountered one of those coincidences that triggered the thought of writing this post and clearing up the “Neanderthal Man” myth.
Let me start with the church service that day. The first hymnal was Come, ye faithful, raise the anthem, words by Job Hupton (1762-1849) and John Mason Neale (1818-1866), music by Joachim Neander (1650-1680). I do check the composers frequently, because many of them are German. In this particular case, it was Joachim Neander. Add to Neander the German word for valley (“thal” modernized to “tal”), and you get Neandertal or in English Neander Valley. Yes, the remains of the Neandertal Man (Homo neanderthalensis), namely its bones, were first found in the Neander Valley.
I should know, because I grew up in Germany in a small town called Mettmann, which was first mentioned in a document dated in the year A.D. 804, and the Neandertal is a part of Mettmann. I am, nevertheless, a member of Homo Sapiens, just in case that thought came to mind.
The previously mentioned coincidence was that this very same morning, before going to church, I found a website that streams radio stations from all over the world through the Internet. And this is where I found Radio Neandertal. You may have guessed by now that Radio Neandertal might not be a radio station dedicated to everything involving cave men and their lifestyle. It is also not sponsored by Geico as a follow-up to their TV commercials. Radio Neandertal is simply a radio station located in the Neander Valley. If you need proof log on to their website at http://www.radioneandertal.de/. And if you’d like to listen to Radio Neandertal log on to http://neandertal.rad.io/. As a fair warning, they don’t play Bavarian oompah music. It’s a mix of contemporary German, English, and American music.
For those who are curious, here is some more information on Joachim Neander according to Wikipedia:
Joachim Neander (Neumann) (1650 – 31 May 1680) was a German Reformed (Calvinist) Church teacher, theologian and hymn writer whose most famous hymn, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation is generally regarded as one of the greatest hymns of praise of the Christian church and, since being translated into English by Catherine Winkworth in the 19th century, it has appeared in most major hymnals. In 1674 he became a teacher in a Latin school in Düsseldorf, one step before becoming a minister. While living there, he liked to go to the nearby valley of the Düssel river, nature being the inspiration for his poems. He also held gatherings and services in the valley, at which he gave sermons. The valley (German thal modernized to tal) was renamed in his honor in the early 19th century, and became famous in 1856 when the remains of the Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) were found there.