Neanderthals Were Artistic Like Modern Humans, Study Indicates
Eurekalert! ^ | February 22, 2018 | University of Southampton
Posted on 03/13/2018 10:41:28 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
A new study led by the University of Southampton and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology shows that paintings in three caves in Spain were created more than 64,000 years ago – 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe.
This means that the Palaeolithic (Ice Age) cave art – including pictures of animals, dots and geometric signs – must have been made by Neanderthals, a ‘sister’ species to Homo sapiens, and Europe’s sole human inhabitants at the time.
It also indicates that they thought symbolically, like modern humans.
Published today in the journal Science, the study reveals how an international team of scientists used a state-of-the-art technique called uranium-thorium dating to fix the age of the paintings as more than 64,000 years.
Until now, cave art has been attributed entirely to modern humans, as claims to a possible Neanderthal origin have been hampered by imprecise dating techniques. However, uranium-thorium dating provides much more reliable results than methods such as radiocarbon dating, which can give false age estimates.
The uranium-thorium method involves dating tiny carbonate deposits that have built up on top of the cave paintings. These contain traces of the radioactive elements uranium and thorium, which indicate when the deposits formed – and therefore give a minimum age for whatever lies beneath.
(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org …
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Panel 3 in Maltravieso Cave showing 3 hand stencils (centre right, centre top and top left). One has been dated to at least 66,000 years ago and must have been made by a Neanderthal (colour enhanced). [Credit: H. Collado]
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