I’ve been reading The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel and its sequels recently.  The basic premise is that a young human girl was orphaned by an earthquake and found by a clan of Neanderthals.  She is brought up by them, before leaving to find her own people and learning more about her own heritage.  There are a whole bunch of sub-plots about the things that she gets up to, which are pretty interesting and well written.

The books are well worth reading, especially if you like learning about other cultures, although if you read them all through one after the other you start to notice a reasonable amount of repetition.

But anyway, it got me thinking.  What would our world be like today if the neanderthals had not died out?

Studies have shown that there was a small amount of interbreeding.  Would that have continued or would the species have diverged to the point where it wasn’t possible any more?

How would the two races collaborate with each other?  Would we avoid each other?  Would one race be dominant?  Would we be constantly at war with them?  Or would we have moved past those reactions to intermingle more or less freely, in the same way that black people were first enslaved and then dominated and now are supposedly* equal in most of the world?

This idea is so obvious that I’m sure it must have been done before.  If anyone can point me towards any good books, I’d be grateful.


* I would love to say actually equal, but I know that in many places they aren’t yet.  Something to strive for.