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Neanderthals created oldest known cave art

February 23, 2018 | Comment icon 6 comments

The Neanderthals were far from primitive. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Tim Evanson
A new study has found that Neanderthals, not humans, created the world's oldest known cave paintings.
The idea that the Neanderthals were incapable of producing art has been around for years, but now the results of a new study led by the University of Southampton and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology may have finally put this idea to bed once and for all.

By using a state-of-the-art technique known as uranium-thorium dating, the researchers were able to date three cave paintings in Spain back more than 64,000 years, meaning that they were created a full 20,000 years before modern humans had even arrived on the European continent.

The discovery suggests that it was the Neanderthals who created the paintings - meaning that our long lost cousins may have actually been just as intelligent and capable as our own ancestors.
"This is an incredibly exciting discovery which suggests Neanderthals were much more sophisticated than is popularly believed," said joint lead study author Dr Chris Standish.

In all likelihood, the Neanderthals would have been extremely similar to modern humans.

"Soon after the discovery of the first of their fossils in the 19th century, Neanderthals were portrayed as brutish and uncultured, incapable of art and symbolic behaviour, and some of these views persist today," said Alistair Pike, Professor of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Southampton.

"The issue of just how human-like Neanderthals behaved is a hotly debated issue. Our findings will make a significant contribution to that debate."

Source: | Comments (6)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Hammerclaw 5 years ago
Think I'll make popcorn and sit back and watch the "Neanderthals were dumb as dirt" crowd, writhe and contort in throws of denial.
Comment icon #2 Posted by I'mConvinced 5 years ago
Genesis 1:26 Then Godsaid,"Let Us makemanin Our image,according to Our likeness;and let them ruleover the fishof the seaand over the birdsof the sky and over the cattleand over allthe earth,and over every creepingthingthat creepson the earth." I'mConvinced 1:1 Then God said "Let us create an equivalent to man in an extremely similar image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule nothing because Wegave it all to man instead. Then, wipe them out to teach them a lesson they won't have learned yet.
Comment icon #3 Posted by cormac mac airt 5 years ago
At the risk of sounding pedantic it should be pointed out that Neanderthals, being part of the same genus as modern humans i.e. Homo,ARE humans. cormac
Comment icon #4 Posted by Essan 5 years ago
Aye, it's a bit like saying that a golden labrador did it and not a retriever .....
Comment icon #5 Posted by Black Monk 5 years ago
No. It's like saying a golden labrador, rather than a dog, did it. There's a slight difference, though, in that there's only one species of dog, whereas Neanderthal was a different species of human to us.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Tatetopa 4 years ago
Maybe the Sapiens - Neanderthal encounters were like the Colombian Exchange. Modern humans were not smarter, stronger, better adapted, or more advanced; they just carried a suite of virulent diseases for which the Neanderthals had no immunity.

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