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Thread: Neanderthals buried their dead

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    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    Neanderthals buried their dead

    I thought we knew this, but it seems the conclusion was controversial.


    "The first evidence that Neanderthals buried their dead emerged after archaeologist Ralph Solecki excavated Shanidar cave in northern Iraq in the 1950s and 1960s. The cave eventually yielded the remains of 10 Neanderthals, including one dubbed Shanidar 4, which was found with clumps of pollen – suggesting the body had been deliberately placed in a grave and flowers scattered on it. The finding was one of several lines of evidence that has led to a reassessment of Neanderthals as highly intelligent and not the shambling brutes of earlier portrayals.

    However, the “flower burial” suggestion has been controversial. “There are burrowing rodents that use the cave and they sometimes take flowers into their burrows,” says Pomeroy. Some of the workmen helping with the dig also carried flowers. “Enough doubt was cast that people became quite sceptical.”"

    "Pomeroy’s team found multiple lines of evidence that the Neanderthal was deliberately buried, including that fact that the sediment layer around the body is visibly different to the layer below. “The one containing the bones is much darker,” says Pomeroy.

    Disturbed by digging

    What’s more, the sediment below the body shows signs of having been disturbed by digging. “If you imagine you’re digging into soil or sediment to dig a grave or a little hole, that causes some compression of the soil, underneath that you’re taking out, because you’re pushing down,” says Pomeroy. The team found that the layer immediately under the body is compressed, but the deeper layers aren’t. “That’s quite good evidence that something was dug out and that’s what the body’s been put in.”
    It isn’t clear if the remains belong to a new individual or to one of the previous finds, several of which are incomplete. Pomeroy says the body was probably accidentally cut in half by the original excavators, who removed the flower burial in a large block of rock.
    Modern humans were burying their dead at least 100,000 years ago, says Pomeroy. We don’t know whether Neanderthals devised the behaviour themselves or if they learned it from humans, but we do know Neanderthals and humans encountered each other around the time of the Shanidar burials."

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    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Every day I discover something interesting in this forum ... it is wonderful to live in this age of new discoveries.

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    Contrary to Popular Belief, Neanderthals Were as Technologically Advanced as Homo Sapiens

    Contrary to popular belief, Neanderthals were no less technologically advanced than Homo sapiens.

    An international team, including researchers from the CNRS, have discovered the first evidence of cord making, dating back more than 40,000 years [1], on a flint fragment from the prehistoric site of Abri du Maras in the south of France [2]. Microscopic analysis showed that these remains had been intertwined, proof of their modification by humans.
    Photographs revealed three bundles of twisted fibers, plied together to create one cord. In addition, spectroscopic analysis revealed that these strands were made of cellulose, probably from coniferous trees.

    This discovery highlights unexpected cognitive abilities on the part of Neanderthals, who not only had a good understanding of the mathematics involved in winding the fibers, but also a thorough knowledge of tree growth.
    These results, published today (April 9, 2020) in Scientific Reports, represent the oldest known proof of textile and cord technology to date.
    Read 50,000 Year-Old String Shows Neanderthals Were Technologically Advanced for more on this discovery.
    Reference: “Direct evidence of Neanderthal fibre technology and its cognitive and behavioral implications” by B. L. Hardy, M.-H. Moncel, C. Kerfant, M. Lebon, L. Bellot-Gurlet and N. Mélard, 9 April 2020, Scientific Reports.
    DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-61839-w

    The following laboratories contributed to this work: Histoire naturelle de l’Homme préhistorique (CNRS/Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle/Université de Perpignan Via Domitia), De la molécule aux nano-objets : réactivité, interactions et spectroscopies (CNRS/Sorbonne Université), along with the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (ministère de la Culture).
    The excavations at the Abri du Maras have in particular benefited from funding from the French Ministry of Culture and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Archaeology Service.

    1. Neanderthals lived between 350,000 and 28,000 years BC.
    2. Archaeological site in southeastern France (Ardèche). The team led by Marie-Hélène Moncel has previously shown that Neanderthals occupied this shelter.

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    The Neanderthal versions of the genes associated with visual learning, memory and cognition, are still fast firing synapses in Salento’s Brain :)

    ... Anthropologists have found that the Neanderthals’ brain capacity is larger than that of humans, but size does not correlate perfectly with intelligence. Humans lived on, and Neanderthals disappeared. Many believe it may have boiled down to a battle of wits, and that humans perhaps outsmarted them.

    Recent research has shown, though, that Neanderthals were far from the brutish ogres portrayed by previous generations of anthropologists. Several archaeological finds show that Neanderthals practiced common cultural traditions like burying their dead, decorating their bodies with jewelry, and even creating art.

    Overall, they were far more similar to us than we originally thought.

    Not only do we find evidence of culture through archaeology, but we can also see evidence of behavior through genetics.

    Neanderthals had a distinct set of mutations in their genes for visual learning, memory, and cognition. These same markers are also common in modern human populations.
    Some researchers have suggested that this is an indicator of a high degree of similarity in the psychology of humans and our Neanderthal cousins
    So the next time someone calls you a Neanderthal, you can think of it as a compliment! ...

    Associated Genes:

    These genes play roles in how you think. Primarily they are associated with visual learning, long term memory, and cognition. The most variants are found in TANC1, a center of visual learning.

    ... from

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