Did Neanderthals Create Cave Art Predating Modern Humans?
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Horace LaBadie
2018-02-22 22:57:44 UTC
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New dating suggests that the oldest known cave art was actually created
before modern humans arrived in Europe, making the probable artists



Cueva de los Aviones (southeast Spain) is a site of the
Neandertal-associated Middle Paleolithic of Europe. It has yielded
ochred and perforated marine shells, red and yellow colorants, and shell
containers that feature residues of complex pigmentatious mixtures.
Similar finds from the Middle Stone Age of South Africa have been widely
accepted as archaeological proxies for symbolic behavior. U-series
dating of the flowstone capping the Cueva de los Aviones deposit shows
that the symbolic finds made therein are 115,000 to 120,000 years old
and predate the earliest known comparable evidence associated with
modern humans by 20,000 to 40,000 years. Given our findings, it is
possible that the roots of symbolic material culture may be found among
the common ancestor of Neandertals and modern humans, more than
half-a-million years ago."
2018-03-01 06:14:56 UTC
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The first evidence for symbolic thought actually
reaches back some 400 thousand years, to
Heidelberg man. They are the first for which
there is evidence for burying their dead, and of
course the bodies seem to have been covered in
red ochre.

...prepared/intentional burials imply religious
beliefs, which would be the earliest examples of
symbolic thought.

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