Although I’d bet he’d get along better in modern American than I would in ice age Europe: Are you smarter than a Neanderthal toolmaker?
Could a Neanderthal use a hammer? Maybe. But could he build one himself without imitating humans? The question of whether our close hominid cousins had the ability to innovate new kinds of tools, and not just imitate, is coming up in scientific circles as archaeologists re-evaluate old archaeological sites.
Two recent studies examined the possibility that Neanderthals created a new toolkit in Europe about 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. For the past few decades, most archeologists assumed that Neanderthal stone tools were simple and roughly shaped. But that assumption may be undermined by the discovery at some Neanderthal sites of thinner, more blade-like stones, some with jagged toothed edges, and others that had one sharp edge and a dull, curved back. They were similar to tools favored by humans during the same time period, leading some experts to assume that Neanderthals were heavily influenced by human culture.
One potential problem I see is in assigning the tools to particular species.