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Palaeontology

Neanderthals were able to make their own string

By T.K. Randall
April 15, 2020 · Comment icon 5 comments



The Neanderthals were a very capable species. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Paul Hudson / Flickr
The discovery of Neanderthal-made string has further cemented the idea that the species was highly intelligent.
Our Neanderthal cousins, far from being simple 'cavemen', were likely to have been the intellectual equals of modern humans - a conclusion that has been gaining an increasing amount of traction in recent years thanks to a series of discoveries showcasing their skills and abilities.

This latest example - a 6.2 millimeter fiber unearthed in a cave in France - demonstrates that Neanderthals were able to create string long before modern humans worked out how to do so.

Dating back up to 52,000 years, the string was found to have been made from the inner bark of a tree.

Creating string may seem like a relatively simple task, but it actually involves a great deal of intellectual capability and the mastery of several related skills.
"Understanding and use of twisted fibers implies the use of complex multi-component technology as well as a mathematical understanding of pairs, sets, and numbers," the researchers wrote.

"Added to recent evidence of birch bark tar, art, and shell beads, the idea that Neanderthals were cognitively inferior to modern humans is becoming increasingly untenable."

Sadly though, despite their many advantages, the Neanderthals were ultimately unable to compete and the last few scattered groups disappeared somewhere around 40,000 years ago.



Source: Science Alert | Comments (5)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by hetrodoxly 3 years ago
The fact they could break a length of vine and have something for binding it isn't much of a stretch to see a little processing would give them something more malleable, stinging nettles make good cordage, that's my 'string theory' anyway.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Taun 2 years ago
That's really cool and all, but let me ask the important question... Since they "made string" did they make yo-yo's?...
Comment icon #3 Posted by jbondo 2 years ago
I think science is great, but it's often presented in a way that pushes the envelope. Using words such as "likely" opens the door where it is accepted as truth. Public schools are often guilty of taking science theory and teaching it as fact. The truth is, they have no idea if Neanderthals made string. It's merely an association combined with speculation based on a dating process that "may be" off by a wide margin.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Stiff 2 years ago
So this is what a 'String Theory' is.  I don't know what all the fuss is about. It seems pretty simple to me.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Herr Falukorv 2 years ago
I wonder if they were able to make regular underpants and briefs too...


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