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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Neanderthal Art

It seems the Neanderthals are getting more and more interesting. According to a new method of carbon dating there are cave paintings which predate any previous determination archaeologists may have had before. More and more evidence is lending itself to the idea that Neanderthals were not “dumb” and may in fact have been more culturally advanced than the interloping Homo sapiens that came up from Africa and the Near East.

Depictions of Horses with hand prints as well as circular designs cover the wall where the new carbon dating process was done. This process uses uranium testing to determine the age of the calcite over the painting instead of the paint itself. This helps scientists ensure that the integrity of the paint remains intact. The ages of the paintings have been shown to be as early as 45,000 years ago and Homo sapiens didn’t make it up into what we call Europe until about 40,000 years ago.

The hand prints on the markings are hypothesized to be signatures of a sort and the scientists involved are excited to remove once and for all the stereotype of Neanderthals being less intelligent than Homo sapiens. More and more evidence is gathered about the Neanderthal way of life, such as the possible existence of musical instruments or adornments for cultural significance in societies. It is likely that Homo sapiens adopted the idea of adornments and art from the Neanderthals according to these new findings.

Discussion: What are your thoughts on Neanderthals and their relation to early Homo sapiens?


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