According to much of Ronald Wright's work, he believes that there is not much of a notable difference in human kind now and what there was 10,000 years ago. His belief on human evolution is one where he say's that it is a very slow moving progress, so therefore there would not be that remarkable of a variance in the cognitive abilities of Neanderthals and the 20th century version of mankind today (CBC Radio Interview 2005).
Human kind is very clever in this regard as well as in the regard of preserving life in severe environments, for a period of time. Yet, he states that human kind has often driven species to extinction and I have to personally agree with his position on this topic. Human kind is known to abuse the environment around it and this is no different from then as now. This is the main reason why so many living biological organisms are either extinct now or on the verge of extinction. Human kind over does it in practically every aspect of living so therefore my opinion is not very different from Wright's. Wright's belief is that it is this mentality of human kind that has ultimately lead to the downfall of many ancient civilizations.
His point is that human kind falls into progress traps. We develop things that create a negative impact in our environments and that negatively affect our very own existence, thereby driving our own species into extinction. Wright also claims that cultural phenomena have absolutely nothing to do with human evolution and again I tend to agree with this.
One of the examples that he gives in his book, in regards to the problem solving skills of mankind, is indicative in the summary he does of the Samarian ...