Me, as a Neanderthal

Went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  Did something there.  And got this email regarding it with a picture attached.  Explanation is below.  Though I think I probably should have taken off my glasses …

Dear Visitor,

Congratulations! You have been transformed into a Homo neanderthalensis, one of the closest relatives of modern humans. Your picture is attached.

As a Homo neanderthalensis, you live between 200,000 and 28,000 years ago in what is now Europe and Asia. You have a very big nose, which helps you survive in cold climates by warming and humidifying cold, dry air. You bury your dead, use simple symbols, and may even speak a language.

Thanks for visiting the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

About the exhibit: The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins offers visitors an immersive, interactive journey through the origins of human beings and the dramatic stories of survival and extinction in the midst of earth’s history of climate change. Learn more at:

Buy cool stuff: Shop on-line and discover What Does It Mean to be Human? Check back often for more exciting products.

Support us! Your contribution will help us meet the challenge of making the latest discoveries in human origins available for all to see.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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