The concave hole found in the Catalonia cave

Discoveries in Spanish cave suggest Neanderthals had hot water and bedrooms

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Archaeologists in Spain have made a number of discoveries inside an ancient cave in Catalonia which suggest that Neanderthals had hot water and separate living quarters around 60,000 years ago.  The finding adds to the mounting evidence that Neanderthals were a lot more sophisticated than previously thought and were at least as advanced, if not more so, than early Homo sapiens.

The Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) reports that more than 10,000 fossil remains and artifacts were retrieved from the cave located at Abric Romaní in Catalonia, enabling scientists to confirm long-term occupation of the site by Neanderthals. 

Among the more significant discoveries was a concave hole measuring 16 inches x 12 inches  x 4 inches (40 x 30 x 10cm), which was found enclosed by a large number of hearths with evidence of fire use. Archaeologists believe the Neanderthals used the hole to heat water by placing heated stones from the hearth.  

“Hearths have been discovered in other Neanderthal dwellings” reports the MailOnline, “and it’s been suggested that they even cooked their food by boiling it in a bag made of skin, or a birch bark tray to soften it – possibly seasoning the meat with herbs.”

Following a detailed analysis of the cave, archaeologists were also able to determine that Neanderthals used different parts of the cave for different activities, including making tools, butchering meat and preparing food, throwing out rubbish, and sleeping. 

The sleeping area was identified by the fact that there were fewer artifacts and less debris. 

The area identified as a bedroom in the Catalonia cave.

The area identified as a bedroom in the Catalonia cave. Credit: Palmira Saladié/IPHES

While the archaeologists at the IPHES claim that the finding presents the first evidence of a Neanderthal ‘bedroom’, findings in a collapsed rock shelter in Italy in 2013 already confirmed that Neanderthals had an organized use of space, something that had previously only been attributed to humans.

Depiction of a Neanderthal family. An exhibit at the Neanderthal Museum in Krapina, Croatia.

Depiction of a Neanderthal family. An exhibit at the Neanderthal Museum in Krapina, Croatia.

The rock shelter in Italy contained separate levels.  The top level was used for butchering animals, because it contained a high concentration of animal remains. The middle level contained the most traces of human occupation and seems to have been a long-term sleeping area. Artifacts were distributed to avoid clutter around the hearth at the back of the cave.  Finally, the bottom level was a place for shorter stays. Animal bones and stone tools were concentrated at the front rather than the rear of the shelter, suggesting that tool production took place there to take advantage of available sunlight.

Gone are the days that Neanderthals were viewed as little more than subhuman brutes and grossly inferior to our own species. Numerous studies over the last decade confirm that their intelligence was at least equal to that of early Homo sapiens.

Featured image: The concave hole found in the Catalonia cave – Palmira Saladié/IPHES

By April Holloway

Comments

FINALLY SOLVED - Human evolution ( evolution of IQ )https://evolutionofhumanintelligence.wordpress.com/ NEW COMPREHENSIVE theory starts from the end by establishing the working theory of functioning of the human brain and assuming that the transfer of collective knowledge - from mother to incapable baby - is what created us, i.e. our (collective C+IQ) intelligence. This constant upgrading of knowledge was achieved through multiple self-projection – MSP. MSP may be the most easily understood as a feeling similar to that of the apparent movement which we have when we are in a train that stands while we are looking through the window at another train that is moving. The essence of this process is that a baby meets his or her needs through his or her custodian’s movements. When a baby wants to bring food to his or her mouth, mother’s hands move so the child experiences them as his or her own. On the basis of this passive process, a baby eventually experiences his or her mother’s body as his or her own, i.e. a baby has a sense of projection into mother’s body. Thus a child learns immediately the most appropriate movements using neurons in the most rational way. The purpose of MSP is to produce a sufficient number of short thought processes that should be taken into consideration when creating “self-awareness”. The smallest number of thought processes could be called Adam’s number. We achieved it through MSP whereas dinosaurs or biological species on some other planets could theoretically achieve it through gigantism. The whole evolution, including genesis of a child who cannot consciously control his body for years, is caused by mutation. The mutation that creates incapable offspring in the first few years of life and slows down the brain development appears constantly among many species. However, such offspring die very quickly because there is no one to watch, carry, feed, bring water or wash them. Only Homo erectus was able to take care of his baby for years and enable formation of a species with constantly increasing amount of individual knowledge on the basis of collective knowledge possessed by the group in which an individual grows up. Therefore it is said that civilization was built on the shoulders of our ancestors. About 1,000,000 years ago Homo erectus specimens which had incapable babies began slowly to reproduce. In the beginning their number was small, but it increased eventually because cooperation among such individuals within a family leads to more successful survival. After hundreds of generations, physical changes in constitution leading to a new species – Homo heidelbergensis – were inevitable. We can say that this is the end of evolution in terms of creation of conscious being. However, it requires an additional mutation that will ensure victory. This is a mutation which enabled emergence of the ability to speak. The evolution of all species goes through stages - by means of mutation from time to time. In order to be able to take care of his child for several years, Homo erectus had to possess several abilities and to pass around a dozen evolutionary improvements. Emotions that we feel today form the basis of emergence of new species. These are the following emotions: Overcoming the fear of fire - the first and basic emotion. It creates a standard for all other emotions. The neurons that make up the whole through which other emotions go is called neural master code - NMK or simply "The Human Spark". Satisfaction during contraction of the back of neck muscles. Try yourself to make this movement in the neck. The first who enjoyed it more than the other hominids is Ardipithecus. Satisfaction during the lumbar muscle contraction. Morning stretching gives an indescribable feeling of pleasure. The first who got this mutation is Australopithecus anamensis. Satisfaction during contraction of the muscles of the hand. The first Australopithecus anamensis who enjoyed it eventually formed a new species - Australopithecus afarensis. This pleasure is very strong in tailors and sculptors. Those who have bad handwriting, like me, do not have this emotion manifested at high level. Fortunately, the "failure to manifest" the first emotion has no impact on achieving Adam’s number because it is achieved through MSP. But if MSP fails, a big problem occurs - autism. Such children have no "teacher" and the entire mass of neurons is left to get connected into ensembles which reward the emotions that I describe. It gives them fascinating properties. Satisfaction during shoulder muscle contraction. When this mutation “struck” one individual belonging to Australopithecus afarensis, it quickly proved to be a winning combination because throwing away sharp objects brings better catch. That is how Australopithecus africanus emerged. This feeling is highly manifested in boxers. Love for indoors. All children enjoy making shelters and dwelling there, though nobody forces them to do that. Individuals who preferred staying at the shelters were able to prosper at the expense of others, only if they were able to make new shelters or adapt existing ones. They could do so only if they were capable of using the whole arm. That's how Homo habilis emerged. Love for fire. When in the population that make shelters and live in them, an individual who loves the fire appears and brings it into the shelter, a winning combination occurs - Homo ergaster. Arsonists have extremely expressed this emotion. Curiosity. The first manifestation of curiosity is already visible in babies - they laugh at the sudden appearance of the head in the Peekaboo game. It took about 5,000,000 years in the process of perfecting the human race to raise the head, straight up body, skilfully use the hands, throw the spear, enjoy indoors and bring fire into the shelter. Only then, after going through all these stages of evolution, a curious creature can go in whatever direction he wants in order to settle there and take advantage of the wealth of a new environment in terms of greater reproduction. Namely, only then the better-half wants to accompany him on his adventures and journeys because she knows that her chosen man can make a solid shelter, warm it up and thus create a favorable microclimate for their joint offspring. Does this sound familiar or is it just me? Finally, a species that could enjoy traveling in all available habitats from Africa to China appeared. A new species of Homo heidelbergensis developed from Homo erectus in cold regions around the Mediterranean Sea, due to MSP. This means that 1,000,000 years ago evolution of intelligence ended having reached the level of collective intelligence (C+IQ). During this process a sufficient number of connected thought processes necessary for self-awareness developed. Each emotion created a new species and by means of shortening “length” and “width” of thought process it caused increase in number of thought processes. Only three emotions directly awarded individuals who were born with an increased number of thought processes, which eventually manifested itself in larger brain sizes that enabled a much better adaptation of an individual to the environment and therefore greater reproduction. Waiting for the final mutation – ability to speak – three emotions, one after another, accidentally occurred and thus three new species that suppressed ancestors and entered the final round of the competition. The last three emotions in the evolution of human race are: Love for cold environment which created the species of Neandertahls. Among them an individual with new mutation appears and that is love for water. This new kind of emotion, combined with the previous evolutionary stage, love for cold environment, led to appearance of a new species – Denisovans. This same mutation appeared and survived in macaque monkeys (macaca fuscata) that live in cold and snowy mountain regions of Japan and like to bathe in hot springs. The emergence of love for warm environment (which excludes love for cold, but retains love for water) in a Denisova baby eventually created a new species of Homo sapiens, but in glacial Europe. When Homo sapiens crossed the Strait of Gibraltar coming to Central Africa and later to China, he occupied a much larger territory on the planet than Neandertahls. Then Homo sapiens became the most numerous group of hominins and had the highest probability of appearance of mutation which provides the ability to speak. And so it was. The winner takes it all and writes the history of the world.

I have always thought that we were very arrogant to suggest that Neanderthals were less advanced or less intelligent than our ‘Primitive’ ( I use the word ‘Primitive’ to mean ‘Earliest or First’) modern human ancestors.

 

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