Re: Studies suggest modern humans, Neanderthals mated
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 19:52:27 +0000

At 08:54 AM 10/26/1999 -0500, John E. Rylander wrote:
>Studies suggest modern humans, Neanderthals mated
>October 25, 1999
>Web posted at: 5:00 PM EDT (2100 GMT)
>WASHINGTON (AP) -- Neanderthals and modern humans may have coexisted in
>central Europe for thousands of years, possibly even mating, according to
>new radiocarbon dating of bones from a cave in Croatia.
>Bones found in the Vindija cave site in Croatia have yielded the youngest
>dates ever, 28,000 to 29,000 years, for Neanderthal remains, said Fred H.
>Smith, said Fred H. Smith, an anthropologist at Northern Illinois
>Smith said it was the strongest evidence yet that the primitive Neanderthal
>lived at the same time and at the same place as did modern human beings.

I will be interested to see which Neanderthal this is from Vindija. This
is the site where Neanderthals are found with fully Upper Paleolithic
Aurignacian stone tools. The conventional wisdom has it that Neanderthals
were destroyed by modern humans with their 'efficient' tools. Yet at
Vindija, level G, an Aurignacian point was found in association with
Neanderthal remains. But this has been known for a while.

"The widely perceived sharp separation between the Middle and Upper
Palaeolithic is coming under increased scrutiny. One recently introduced
factor is the discovery of Neanderthal remains dated to less than 30,000 BP
(in souther Spain). An even more important catalyst is the report that
apparent Neanderthal remains have been found together with Aurignacian
tools in a Croatian Cave. The site in question is Vindija Cave, north of
Zagreb, which has yielded abundant archaeological and hominid remains. The
cave is over 50 m deep, and its 9 m of Rissian and Wurmian sediments
contained extensive occupation evidence from the Middle and the Upper
Palaeolithic. Excavations were begun in 1928 and continued to 1986.
Of particular importance is a stratigraphic complex of about one metre,
called complex G. It contains a series of occupation deposits and
Neanderthal remains, but the odd thing is that its uppermost component,
level G1, contains Aurignacian rather than Mousterian tools. This stratum,
a clayey sediment of 8-20 cm thickness, has produced a radiocarbon date
(from a cave bear long bone, by AMS) of 33,000 +/- 400 BP (ETH-12714). Its
56 stone tools and bone points are clearly Aurignacian-like, and there is a
leaf-shaped bifacial point as found in the Szeletian. The layer also
yielded a pubic bone of a bear that was decorated with a circular
engraving, and there can be no doubt about its Upper Palaeolithic
character. The tools from the actual interface of G1 with the overlying
Fd/d layer are even more pronounced Aurignacian, with typical endscrapers,
keeled scrapers, burins and more large bone points.
"Human remains have also been found in level G1, displaying both
Neanderthaloid and modern characteristics (Journal of Anthropological
Research Vo. 51:25-26). Morphologically they seem to be intermediate
between the neanderthals of the lower levels and the overlying H. sapiens
sapiens remains. In fact even the Neanderthals from the lower level G3,
with a Mousterian tool kit, already provide clear indications of changes
heralding the partially modern appearance of the G1 hominids. E. H. Smith
and J. C. Ahern describe the zygomatic and and supraorbital fragments from
that level as coming from Neanderthals, while other fragments seem to be of
Moderns. There were even three teeth of possible Neanderthal morphology
found in the higher level Fd." ~ R. G. Bednarik, "Aurignacian
Neanderthals?" The Artefact, 18(1995):92


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