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Palaeontology

Did Neanderthals sail the Mediterranean ?

By T.K. Randall
November 19, 2012 · Comment icon 19 comments

Image Credit: CC 3.0 Rawansari
Neanderthal seafarers may have ventured to the Mediterranean islands more than 12,000 years ago.
Up until now it was believed that the first people to reach the islands of the Mediterranean were Stone Age farmers and shepherds, but new archaeological finds suggest that the islands may have been visited before this. Obsidian from the Aegean island of Melos discovered on the mainland for example has been found dating back 11,000 years while artifacts found on Cyprus date back even further.

"We found evidence that human hunters may have helped drive pygmy hippos to extinction on Cyprus about 12,000 years ago," said archaeologist Alan Simmons. "There's still a lot to find in archaeology - you have to keep pushing the envelope in terms of conventional wisdom."
Neanderthals and other extinct human lineages might have been ancient mariners, venturing to the Mediterranean islands thousands of years earlier than previously thought.


Source: Live Science | Comments (19)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by JimOberg 12 years ago
12,000 years ago? Weren't they modern humans at that point?
Comment icon #11 Posted by C235 12 years ago
There really is something wrong with these archaeologists.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Helen of Annoy 12 years ago
For instance, stone artifacts on the southern Ionian Islands hint at human sites there as early as 110,000 years ago. Investigators have also recovered quartz hand-axs, three-sided picks and stone cleavers from Crete that may date back about 170,000 years ago. The distance of Crete about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the mainland would have made such a sea voyage no small feat. The exceedingly old age of these artifacts suggests the seafarers who made them might not even been modern humans, who originated between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. Instead, they might have been Neanderthals or pe... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by wolfknight 12 years ago
I think anything is possible. Look at the Clovis people
Comment icon #14 Posted by DieChecker 12 years ago
I think it is possible that neanderthals floated over on logs. They saw an island, got on a log and paddled over.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Myles 12 years ago
I think it is possible that neanderthals floated over on logs. They saw an island, got on a log and paddled over. That is possible.
Comment icon #16 Posted by booNyzarC 12 years ago
Sailing in the Mediterranean is so easy that a caveman can do it.
Comment icon #17 Posted by smokeycat 12 years ago
What was the Mediterranean like during the ice age when sea levels were around 130m (425 feet) lower?
Comment icon #18 Posted by Hilander 12 years ago
If sea levels were that much lower it might not been as difficult as it would of been with today's sea levels. There would of been more islands I would think. Maybe they just found something that would float to use as a boat.
Comment icon #19 Posted by DieChecker 12 years ago
What was the Mediterranean like during the ice age when sea levels were around 130m (425 feet) lower? Good point, I'd forgotten that angle.


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