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I would like to preface this by saying that I do very much enjoy the game, and this little rant is motivated by my own strange obsession with early humans- and specifically my love for neanderthals. (It is very serious but very minor so not to actually be taken too seriously.)

In the game, sadly, neanderthal is pictured as often seen on tv or other badly documented/older medias. They're strong, stupid and aggressive.

This is all based on misinformation spread by early research and conclusions- that basically went "well they died out so clearly they had to be stupider than us lol", and attributing some of their work to well- us, homo sapiens.

Therefore they get bad press, despite more recent discoveries and better research showing that it's far from the truth.

Actual neanderthals were pretty damn intelligent. Not only were they amongst the first to conduct burials- complete with leaving offerings (which is also partially why you can find a lot of their remains!), They also made tools in new innovative ways, made clothes which also was pretty new, and were amazing hunters due to their surroundings. They also likely had developped a language, and some of the remains found showed that they took care of their disabled- showing some empathy there too. And they did art.

Burrials are often considered to be proof of emotional intelligence- they show grief and complex emotions and respect that doesn't suit aggressive dumb people as often depicted.

Hunting takes a lot of skills too, especially if you want to be efficient; they also are known to look for seafood when on the seaside, and that adaptability is also a sign of intelligence.

Sewing is a fine skill that was not seen before- and they also were known to make art and ornaments.

Basically Homo Neanderthalensis are amazing.

I know the lore in game says they were resurrected by scientists and this is all due to them "not having evolved in complex civilizations", but it still doesn't feel right, if only because it confirms misinformation. Also the wording of "replaced and merged with humans" is false- they are humans, just a different type from homo sapiens. Different species of humans exist!

I think I wouldn't have an issue if they were stocky and strong but not aggressive and dumb- because honestly in that case any tribe could be considered dumb due to their lack of technological advancement, and you could have made homo habilis or homo erectus or hell even very early homo sapiens a thing to show that. (Also a missed opportunity to give us australopithecus tribals maybe. I think it'd have been even cooler to do that than the old neanderthal caveman trope- but that's me and my odd wishes.)

The "slow learner", "slow runner" and "aggressive" things are just not accurate- or at least not if it's only applied to them and not "baseline humans" too.

TL;DR: I'm a crazy person obsessed with Homo Neanderthalensis who's upset at a video game doing them dirty ;)

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over 1 year ago - /u/TynanSylvester - Direct link

I'm not sure there's much in the game that contradicts what you're saying.

RimWorld neanderthals can hunt, craft, use fire, and have complex spoken interactions. They can carry out rituals, bury the dead, hold and spread complex beliefs. They can form complex relationships with each other and with humans, who they can also interbreed with.

You talk about real neanderthals sewing, burying the dead ritualistically, doing art. RimWorld neanderthals do all this (in addition to building geothermal generators and interstellar spacecraft, FWIW).

None of this contradicts them being less intelligent than baseliners. There is a very broad spectrum of intelligence between a modern human and the cartoon notion of a proto-human who can only grunt (barely verbal) and swing a club.

If you IQ tested a population of neanderthals where would they score on average? Nobody really knows of course, but I don't think it would be 50, nor would it be 100. It'd be somewhere between those two scores, and that's what the game depicts.

People of 85 IQ can read, use numbers, have complex lives, but they don't do so great at engineering or scientific research or math. They're also more prone to criminal aggression (these are uncontroversial and extremely well researched facts). That's the kind of lower intelligence the game depicts in neanderthals, which I think is reasonable to suppose as being the reality as it existed 40kya.

Regarding "slow runner" - Wikipedia says, "Compared with modern humans, Neanderthals had a more robust build and proportionally shorter limbs." The degree to which this would affect speed is likely exaggerated in the game for gameplay reasons, but the effect seems to be supported. They'd be slower than us, speaking generally.

I think it's important not to blatantly disregard reality, so I try pretty hard to research things and make the world feel realistic in a sense.

I think you may be pattern-matching what's in the game to a pre-decided image in your head of dumb cultural depictions of neanderthals where they're barely-verbal morons. But that's not what the game actually shows.

The game shows a group who have complex lives, complex speech, multi-domain practical skills, long memories, relationships, opinions and beliefs, but who are nevertheless dumber, more aggressive, tougher, and physically different-shaped than baseliners. It's not absolutely accurate in every aspect for gameplay reasons, but within the mechanics of the game I tried to make a reasonably reality-based depiction that's not dramatically misleading on any aspect.