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In Doctor Who, The thals are enemies of the daleks from their home planet, Skaro. They show up in a number of dalek stories (even ones, like "Planet of the Daleks," where they don't make a lot of sense). In the first dalek story, however, the thals have a history, from the before the nuclear war that mutated the daleks, as fierce warriors. And at the period "The Daleks" takes place, they are nomads, sometimes wearing peculiar skins/cloaks and also partially bare-chested.

thal cloak thal chests

It made me wonder, was the name of the thal race chosen to be suggestive of the neanderthal race of cave men? Neanderthals are typically portrayed as half-clothed wearers of hides.

Of course, in German, thal just means valley. But that might or might not have been known in 1960 Britain. Is anything known about how this name was chosen?

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    Just to note, the correct modern German word is spelled "Tal" (even in the 60's I'd guess). The correct German spelling of the ancient people is "Neandertaler", but the form with H used to be used before. The meaning of the name is basically "people from the Neander valley", but the shorter version feels odd to me. As an alternative interpretation, it might have originated from the mythical island of "Thule" as well. – Mario Dec 27 '17 at 6:50
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    “Of course, in German, thal just means valley. But that might or might not have been known in 1960 Britain.” Knowledge of German (as a major scientific and literary language) was hardly unusual among well-educated Brits, and BBC writers were a pretty educated bunch. On the other hand, the pronunciation of the Thals in Doctor Who, with an English “th” sound, is quite different from the pronunciation of German Thal/Tal, so they might well not have had it in mind. – PLL Jan 1 '18 at 0:00

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