“Was the beetle-browed Neanderthal man really our ancestor, or an unhappy cousin doomed to extinction? Is Homo sapiens a recent arrival in Europe? Last August, in a quiet French village in the Department of Charente, the mystery was solved when a few fragments of an old skull were brushed carefully out of the ancient clays. The most curious fact is that it was a skull very much like your own. There is nothing Neanderthaloid about it. It is within the size range of living females: this woman could have sat across from you on the subway and you would not have screamed. You might even have smiled. The lady of Charente places modern humans on the European Continent over 100,000 years ago.”
—Scientific American, July 1948
More gems from Scientific American’s first 175 years can be found on our anniversary archive page.