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January 7th, 2010
Web-Exclusive Video: First Neanderthal Find, Before Its Time

The field of archaeology in some ways follows two different timelines. Of course there are the ancient evolutionary timelines that today’s scientists try to piece together from their fossil finds. But there’s also a shorter timeline that tells the story of the researchers themselves, their discoveries, and the way their theories about them change over time.

The first Neanderthal skull discovered in modern times hid in a cave in Engis, Belgium until a local doctor pulled it out in 1829. In this video, archaeologist Michel Toussaint describes how the discovery was ahead of its time — three decades before publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species.

Can you think of other scientific ideas or breakthroughs that took time for society to accept?

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