Neanderthals behaved like us!

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Thu Nov 23 2000 - 13:46:15 EST

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    There is an News and Analysis article in December 2000 Scientific American
    p. 18. Here are some extracts:

    "Grotte XVI, a site that he is currently excavating, is one of 23 caves that
    line a 1.5-kilometer-long cliff running along that hill, he explains. The
    locality has proved exceptionally rich. Over the past 17 years the field
    team has documented upward of 50,000 artifacts from at least 11 different
    archaeological levels dating back as far as 75,000 years ago, when
    Neandertals inhabited the cave. As such, Grotte XVI provides a rare
    opportunity for scientists to compare how Neandertals and early modern
    humans used the same living space--a comparison that is indicating that the
    two groups were more similar than previously thought. " Paleolithic Pit
    Stop," Scientific American, Dec. 2000, p. 18

    "Comparisons between the Mousterian and the Aurignacian--an Upper
    Paleolithic cultural tradition associated with anatomically modern
    humans--at Grotte XVI have led Simek and Rigaud to an intriguing conclusion.
    Whereas a number of researchers have argued that the transition from the
    Middle Paleolithic to the Upper Paleolithic was rapid, corresponding to a
    replacement of Neandertals by moderns, the Grotte XVI assemblages fail to
    support that idea. The Upper Paleolithic does represent a shift toward
    specialized hunting, Simek observes, but the change is gradual.

    Indeed, preliminary analysis suggests that the Neandertal and early modern
    human inhabitants of Grotte XVI behaved in much the same way: in both cases,
    small groups of hunters seem to have used the cave for only short periods
    before moving on, and both hunted the same kinds of animals. In fact, both
    groups appear to have fished extensively, judging from the abundant remains
    of trout and pike, among other species. This finding is particularly
    interesting because Neandertals are not generally assumed to have made use
    of aquatic resources. Furthermore, Simek reports, Neandertals may have even
    smoked their catch, based on evidence of lichen and grass in the Mousterian
    fireplaces. Such plants don't burn particularly well, Simek says, but they
    do produce a lot of smoke. "People don't tend to think of Neandertals as
    using fire in very complex ways," he remarks, "and they did." (The
    fireplaces, which date to between 54,000 and 66,000 years ago, are
    themselves noteworthy as the best-preserved early hearths known, according
    to Simek. Striking bands of black, red, pink, orange, yellow and white
    reveal carbon and various stages of chemically decomposed ash that indicate
    short, hot fires.) " Paleolithic Pit Stop," Scientific American, Dec. 2000,
    p. 18-20

    For groups like Reasons to Beleive, to continue to propagate their belief
    that Neanderthals are nothing more than bipedal, soulless animals flies in
    the face of anthropological knowledge. They are doing the same thing for
    anthropology that young-earth creationists do to astronomy!!!

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