Friday, August 25, 2006

 

How modern were European Neanderthals?

Neanderthal Neandertal Tools Châtelperronian Fées France (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)Neandertals were much more like modern humans than had been previously thought, according to a re-examination of finds from one of the most famous palaeolithic sites in Europe by Bristol University archaeologist, Professor Joao Zilhao, and his French colleagues.

Professor Zilhao has been able to show that sophisticated artefacts such as decorated bone points and personal ornaments found in the Chatelperronian culture of France and Spain were genuinely associated with Neandertals around 44,000 years ago, rather than acquired from modern humans who might have been living nearby. His findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) USA.

The site from which this Neandertal culture derives its name is the Grotte de Fees at Chatelperronian in Central France, first excavated in the 1840s. It has been one of the most important and controversial places to understand how modern humans that had previously moved out of Africa replaced the Neandertals, often portrayed as more 'primitive'.
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This news release is based on the paper "Analysis of Aurignacian interstratification at the Chatelperronian-type site and implications for the behavioral modernity of Neandertals" (Abstract)

[Neanderthal, Châtelperronian, Fées]

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