Sunday, 26 September 2010

Neandertals were cleverer and more innovative than we thought

Reconstruction of a Neandertal girl. Image courtesy of Christopher P.E. Zollikofer, Anthropological Institute, University of Zurich.

Joel Kontinen

Neandertals were innovative and developed their own culture, a new study conducted at the University of Colorado -Denver discloses. Researchers had previously assumed that Neandertals were primitive cave men who at best only copied the achievements of modern man.

Julien Riel-Salvatore, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado –Denver, has discovered that this view is completely erroneous.

Riel-Salvatore studied Neandertal sites in Italy for seven years and found signs of advanced culture that up to now had only been associated with modern man. According to ScienceDaily, ”Riel-Salvatore identified projectile points, ochre, bone tools, ornaments and possible evidence of fishing and small game hunting at Uluzzian archeological sites throughout southern Italy.”

Riel-Salvatore’s research will be published in the December issue of the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. ”We are more brothers than distant cousins," he says of the relationship of Neanderthals and modern humans.

At the time of the famous Scopes money trial in 1925, the best evidence for Darwinian evolution included Neandertals, Nebraska man and Piltdown man.

Now we know that the lone tooth of Nebraska man belonged to an extinct pig-like creature, that Piltdown man was a forgery and that Neandertals were fully human, just like us.


Neanderthals More Advanced Than Previously Thought: They Innovated, Adapted Like Modern Humans, Research Shows. ScienceDaily (22 September 2010).