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Neanderthals and their Thinking Ability

Neanderthals and their Thinking Ability

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At the El Castillo Cave in Spain, a series of rock artwork puzzles anthropologists. While initially the artwork was thought to be over 40,000 years old, making it the work of Homo sapiens, recent dating based on the decay of the uranium atoms in the calcite which is on the surface of the artwork shows that the artwork may be older, possible thousands of years older than initially believed, making the artist(s) of this artwork the Neanderthals.

The results of the dating will be finalized in the next few months, but if that is true then it means that the Neanderthals are not the cavemen that we had in mind but they were similar to us and capable of thinking and creating art. Of course we shouldn’t forget that Neanderthals mysteriously disappeared without leaving any trace.

Neanderthals supposedly migrated into Europe about 300 thousand years ago from Eurasia. They were considered very primitive compared to us and there are a few theories mentioning that modern humans and Neanderthals co-existed and interbred while other studies show the opposite. So basically we have no idea.

Joao Zilhao, a leading expert on Neanderthals, believes that the Neanderthals are not the primates that we think they are. He suggests that they used to bury their dead which shows that they had some kind of spirituality – or may be shows that they have learned or observed that from some other species. If it is the case that Neanderthals coexisted with Homo Sapiens then it may be the case that they observed and repeated what modern humans were doing in that period of time.

Zilhao also suggests they may have even made glue to secure spear points. Of course not all sceptical archaeologists agree with these suggestions. But one finding that Zilhao uses to support his theory is three shells that were found in Spain with holes near the edge, suggesting that they may have been used as ornaments.

If the date of those pigments goes beyond 50,000 years ago then Zilhao’s theory will get more support from archaeologists.

However the truth is that all these debates are based on very little evidence and it is simply theoretical speculation at this point.  The truth may be something completely different.

By John Black

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