circa 25,000 BCE — the last Neanderthals become extinct

It’s unclear exactly how our nearest hominid relatives went extinct, but the leading candidates are our direct ancestors: whether fucking or fighting.

I mean that quite literally: some of them interbred with homo sapiens until they no longer existed as a separate species, or they just plain got killed by other homo sapiens. At their widest range, Neandertals occupied lands from Ireland and Spain in the west through to the southern Urals in the East. They did not go extinct everywhere at the same time, of course, but the precise details are somewhat obscured by the incompleteness of the fossil record.

The Neanderthal Afterlife

The Neanderthals of the alternate timeline have virtually no spiritual beliefs. They do not believe in any deities or spirits, any other realms or dimensions (other than the physically provable alternate timeline), and certainly no afterlife. Their reaction to the spiritual beliefs of homo sapiens is either polite confusion or open derision.

In fact, their entire morality is based on the idea that there is only one life, and thus, it is important to get things right the first time.

The Neanderthal morality would be absolutely loved by Richard Dawkins.