The upshot of this is likely to be that Neanderthals are no longer be classified as a separate species, and will be returned to Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, as some taxonomists had them until fairly recently. It isn’t like Pluto ceasing to be called a planet (in any case they’ll have to indoctrinate a new generation before that idea gets accepted). Pluto’s classification was changed not because we learnt anything new about Pluto, but to keep the labels tidy. We have learnt something new about the Neanderthals, something with important philosophical implications.
I liked the idea that, almost within recorded history, another intelligent, rational creature shared the planet with us, and even lived alongside us in certain places. A creature capable of rational analysis, industry, and presumably symbolic behaviour, including speech. It allowed me to speculate on how these species would have seen each other, and how it would have altered their attempts to understand the world, and their own identity, to have regular contact with something that was like them in too many ways for them to consider themselves unique, as we do, but was sufficiently different to obviously not be them. I discussed this (rambled on would be another way of putting it) here and here.
The essential point was that 40,000 years ago, at least some groups of European and Asian humans would not have had the instinctive feeling that they were obviously unique and special, and so they would not have sought to explain it and built upon it the way others, including us, are used to doing. It must have affected their concept of right and wrong, their attempts to explain their own origins, the way they accepted, or avoided accepting, their own mortality, and it would have been fascinating to learn about systems of belief from that time. It still is fascinating to speculate on what impact it might have had.
But it seems that they didn’t see the Neanderthals as anything more than another tribe, not exactly them, but to like them to be a threat to their uniqueness. Ah well, there’s still