"In fact, give a Neanderthal man a shave and a haircut, dress him in well-fitted clothes, and he could probably walk down New York's Fifth Avenue without getting much notice."
So wrote Isaac Asimov many decades ago.
Asimov did not have access to the information we're discussing today -- the actual gene sequence of a Neanderthal
and the chance to compare that genome to the ones inside our own cells. That knowledge may bring us a little closer to the question of what it means to be a homo sapiens.
Meanwhile, there's a lively debate about what it meant to be a Neanderthal.
Some of the latest archeological evidence suggests that they had a culture, of sorts and that, without having to imitate neighboring homo sapiens, they developed their own ideas of art and decoration. And what do they get for that? They become an epithet, as in Philadelphia Eagles fans are a bunch of Neanderthals.