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Posts Tagged "Neanderthal"

Observations

Ancient Indonesian Cave Paintings Force Rethink of Art’s Origin

Cave painting of a babirusa

Archaeologists have determined that artwork found in limestone caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is far older than previously thought. First documented in the 1950s, the images–stencils of human hands and depictions of animals—were assumed to be less than 10,000 years old. Paintings older than that would not survive in such a tropical environment, [...]

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Observations

Ancient Engraving Strengthens Case for Sophisticated Neandertals

Neandertal engraving in Gorham

One of the longest-running, most fervent debates in the history of human evolution research concerns the cognitive abilities of the Neandertals. Were they the slow-witted creatures of popular imagination or did an intellect like that of modern humans lurk behind that heavy brow? I think it’s safe to say that these days most paleoanthropologists have [...]

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Observations

Neandertal Lineage Began in a Game of Thrones World

 skull

In a small chamber deep in the Atapuerca mountains in northern Spain lies one of the most extraordinary paleontological discoveries of all time: a massive assemblage of fossils belonging to an extinct member of the human family. The site is known as the Sima de los Huesos, the “pit of bones.” And in it scientists [...]

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Observations

Sex with Neandertals Introduced Helpful and Harmful DNA into the Modern Human Genome

Neandertal skull

Over the past few years a number of studies of ancient and contemporary genomes have reached the same stunning conclusion: early human species interbred, and people today carry DNA from archaic humans, including the Neandertals, as a result of those interspecies trysts. Now two new analyses of modern human genomes are providing insights into how [...]

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Observations

The Most Fascinating Human Evolution Discoveries of 2013

Sahelanthropus tchadensis

Wow. I’ve just spent the last couple days going through the paleoanthropology news that broke in 2013 and I must say it was a banner year. There were so many exciting new findings that bear on scientists’ understanding of just about every chapter of humanity’s seven-million-year saga—from our ancestors’ first upright steps to the peopling [...]

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Observations

Neandertal Grave Attests to Complex Cognition

Neandertal grave

Some 60,000 years ago, in a small limestone cave in central France, Neandertals dug a grave and laid an elderly member of their clan to rest. That’s the picture emerging from re-analysis of a site that yielded the famous La Chapelle-aux-Saints Neandertal skeleton in 1908, and it has important implications for understanding the behavior and [...]

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Observations

Human Ancestors Made Deadly Stone-Tipped Spears 500,000 Years Ago

Reproductions of ancient spears

Human ancestors were fashioning sophisticated hunting weapons half a million years ago. An analysis of stone points from a site in South Africa called Kathu Pan 1 indicates that they were attached to shafts of wood and used as spears. The finding pushes the earliest appearance of hafted multicomponent tools back by some 200,000 years. [...]

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Observations

Oldest Arrowheads Hint at How Modern Humans Overtook Neandertals

Tiny stone points from Pinnacle Point

Archaeologists excavating a cave on the southern coast of South Africa have recovered remains of the oldest known complex* projectile weapons. The tiny stone blades, which were probably affixed to wooden shafts for use as arrows, date to 71,000 years ago and represent a sophisticated technological tradition that endured for thousands of years. The discovery [...]

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Observations

Ode to the Last Neandertal [Video]

Gorham's Cave

On a recent visit to Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar I stood in the dark, damp recesses of the seaside limestone cavern and cried. I had come to see the site of the last known Neandertals, who lived here some 28,000 years ago. Situated on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar was a refuge [...]

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Observations

Caveman Couture: Neandertals Rocked Dark Feathers

Neandertal wearing feathers

GIBRALTAR—Jordi Rosell removes a thumbnail-size piece of reddish-tan bone from a sealed plastic bag, carefully places it under the stereomicroscope and invites me to have a look. Peering through the eyepieces I see two parallel lines etched in the specimen’s weathered surface. Tens of thousands of years ago, in one of the seaside caves located [...]

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