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Palaeontology

Did Neanderthals sing opera ?

By T.K. Randall
February 5, 2013 · Comment icon 46 comments



Image Credit: CC 3.0 Rawansari
According to British archaeologist Steven Mithen, Neanderthals used music to help them communicate.
Mithen, who has written a book on the topic called "The Singing Neanderthals", maintains that music, song and dance were all valid forms of early communication. While the idea may seem controversial, it is certainly not outside the realm of possibility that pre-linguistic communication would have involved the use of different sounds and body movements.

"The musicality of the Neanderthals can be identified more with opera than with rap because in addition to music, these hominids also used dance and body language as forms of communication," said Mithen. "Modern human beings used language, which was a more efficient form of communication, and they could also invent better technology, while the Neanderthals were gradually pushed out toward extinction."[!gad]Mithen, who has written a book on the topic called "The Singing Neanderthals", maintains that music, song and dance were all valid forms of early communication. While the idea may seem controversial, it is certainly not outside the realm of possibility that pre-linguistic communication would have involved the use of different sounds and body movements.

"The musicality of the Neanderthals can be identified more with opera than with rap because in addition to music, these hominids also used dance and body language as forms of communication," said Mithen. "Modern human beings used language, which was a more efficient form of communication, and they could also invent better technology, while the Neanderthals were gradually pushed out toward extinction."
Neanderthals sang opera, British archaeologist Steven Mithen, originator of the theory that music was used as a form of pre-linguistic communication by these pre-historic people, told EFE.


Source: Phenomenica | Comments (46)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #37 Posted by Abramelin 10 years ago
they probablyy had some way of "singing" but it probably wasnt opera. Something like this:
Comment icon #38 Posted by Blizno 10 years ago
This is imbecilic. We have bones and stone tools from Neanderthals. That's pretty much all that we have other than a few other items that might or might not be from Neanderthals. To speculate about "singing" or "dancing" performed by Neanderthals is idiotic.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Blizno 10 years ago
Neanderthal seafarers may have ventured to the Mediterranean islands more than 1 "...more than 1". Do you mean "more than once"? Why not type actual words? It's not hard.
Comment icon #40 Posted by Blizno 10 years ago
Why do so called scientists continually present thier theories as fact? These people are not scientists; they are fools. They have disgraced themselves with this nonsense.
Comment icon #41 Posted by Blizno 10 years ago
It's not that bad. I've seen opera singers dressing up as Vikings called Helga! No you haven't. You've seen parodies of opera. That is not opera.
Comment icon #42 Posted by third_eye 10 years ago
yeah, you must have cymbals ... no cymbals not real opera ....
Comment icon #43 Posted by Frank Merton 10 years ago
My understanding was that you have to have a fat lady.
Comment icon #44 Posted by third_eye 10 years ago
that's old school .... neo modernist operas is exempt from the fat lady requirement
Comment icon #45 Posted by Frank Merton 10 years ago
Yea -- well, remember these were Neanderthals-- about as old school as you can get.
Comment icon #46 Posted by G Donnelly 10 years ago
No you haven't. You've seen parodies of opera. That is not opera. Cheers for the semi necromancy.Though I always knew from the start this notion was idiotic which I why I started with a parody.However I wanted to explore the idea further by the way of a book and get more serious but nobody followed through with it which is why I regressed to football.But the effect has been ruined what with Di Canio not being in the Swindon Town hot seat anymore.Still there's plenty of farming apparatus to shift through...


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