The moment of passage into the spiritual realm is not something that can be observed in this way—although we can nevertheless discern, through experimental research, a series of very valuable signs of what is specifically human life. John Paul II by Robert Sawyer, describing a parallel universe in which there is a Neanderthal civilization (technical–quantum computers, and all that), a world in which Neanderthals rather than Homo Sapiens, are the intelligent species.We have an image of Neanderthals as brutes, sub-human, but their brain size was generally greater than that of Homo Sapiens.
There is archeological evidence to indicate that they cooperated as a hunter/gatherer community, and that they cared for disabled members of the community, thus showing compassion.
There is evidence from genetic research to reinforce the notion that Neanderthals were not sub-human.
Moreover, genomic analysis suggests that trace amounts (1 to 4 %) of Neanderthal genomic material affects traits in modern humans, Eurasians, but not in Africans.
So, did the first humans intermarry with Neanderthals in Europe or West Asia?
The Church has taken a position on evolution put forth by Pope St.
John Paul II in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (see the quotes above), a position which makes a clear distinction between the evolution of a material body, and a soul endowed by God.
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