If Neanderthals and Denisovans had survived

Suppose, just for the sake of argument, that Neanderthals and Denisovans had survived. Yes, I realize that humans in some parts of the world today have a bit of Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry.

But I am talking about full blooded representatives of our near-relatives. I wonder how such people would think, and how their thinking would be different from ours.

Would they be better or worse at math, at spatial reasoning, at emotional engagement and theory of mind? Would they tend to be highly analytical or intuitive?

If Neanderthal or Denisovan children were to go to school alongside Homo Sapiens children, how would that work out? Would everyone get along?

I realize there is very little chance we will even know the answers to these questions. Theoretically we could bring back such individuals from their extant DNA, but I don’t believe anybody seriously thinks that would be a good idea.

Still, it’s an intriguing set of questions. Sometimes it is useful simply to ponder a mystery, even if you never expect to know the answer.

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