originally posted by: peter vlar
originally posted by: 131415
Its curious that Neanderthal don't really evolve over the course of 3 Million years.
I can completely understand why that would be a mind boggler for you, especially since 3 million years ago the closest relatives to humans were still
Australopithecines. The Genus Homo didn't come into play until around 2 MYA with H. Erectus. Neanderthal as a distinct species, only came into play
about 250,000 years ago. There were however distinct transitions going back approx 600,000 YA with the starting point being H. Heidelbergensis leading
up to what became very distinctly Neanderthal. But 3 Million years... Not quite.
They use the same one tool that entire time.
Exactly what one tool would that be? Neanderthal had a rather extensive and intricate tool kit contrary to what most people seem to think of them.
They utilized a very distinctive flint knapping technique called Lavellois during what is referred to as the Mousterian
Karen Ruebens, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton, analyzed more than 1,300 stone tools from European Neanderthal sites dated to
between 115,000 and 35,000 years ago. She found that they belong to at least two distinct tool-making traditions. West of the Rhine River, Neanderthal
hand axes are oval or roughly triangular, while to the east, they are rounded on one edge and flat on the other. Near the Rhine, the traditions seem
to overlap, as if two cultures were sharing their techniques. A separate study, led by Marie Soressi at Leiden University, shows that
Neanderthals also may have taught our Homo sapiens ancestors a thing or two. Soressi’s analysis shows that Neanderthals were using bone tools called
lissoirs to process animal hides several thousand years before the first modern humans arrived in Europe and started making the same type of tool.
While it has long been thought that H. sapiens were the progenitors of the practice, Neanderthals may actually have been more creative in their
tool-making than was previously thought.
Additionally, Tools crafted during the Mousterian period of tool making included small hand axes made from disk-shaped cores; flake tools, such as
well-made sidescrapers and triangular points, probably used as knives; denticulate (toothed) instruments produced by making notches in a flake,
perhaps used as saws or shaft straighteners; and round limestone balls, believed to have served as bolas (weapons of a type used today in South
America, consisting of three balls on the end of a thong, which is hurled at an animal, wraps itself around its legs, and trips it). Wooden spears
were used to hunt large game such as mammoth and wooly rhinoceros. Mousterian “tool kits” often have quite different contents from site to site.
Some paleo anthropologists explain this by suggesting that different groups of Neanderthal men had varying toolmaking traditions; other workers
believe the tool kits were used by the same peoples to perform different functions (e.g., hunting, butchering, food preparation). Mousterian
implements disappeared abruptly from Europe with the passing of Neanderthal as they were absorbed into what was to become Homo Sapiens Sapiens(
present day us).
Then in the last 50-75k they start burying their dead for the first time, wearing ornaments, and in this case possibly creating art.
Just because there haven't been any definitively confirmed burial sites containing Neanderthal remains of verifiable older dates doesn't mean that
they didn't do it earlier. The fossil record is pretty scant when it comes to our closest and most recent relative of our genus. There is a 65,000
year old burial site of Neanderthal in norther Iraq/Kurdistan that contains grave goods including pollen indicating flowers were placed in the grave.
There are multiple sites where Neanderthal graves show bodies with debilitating injuries that had healed, in some cases were talking about broken legs
or arms that while not set due to lack of medical knowledge, healed but left the individual incapable of surviving on their own. this shows that these
people were taken care of by their community both in life and death. The intelligence, the compassion, the use of jewelry and makeup...these are all
the hallmarks of what we would in the present refer to as what differentiates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. HNS were every bit as human
as we are and their integration into our archaic societies and gene pool may in fact be what allowed us to become a dominant force on this planet.
Cro Magnon on the other hand - what a beauty.
Oh, indeed they were beauties. Thankfully for EEMH when they first left Africa and were making their way into Europe through the Levant, they
encountered, lived and worked with the Neanderthals already living there who were kind enough to share their superior tool making skills with the new
world travelers who contrary to most people's impressions, not in possession of superior tools.
Hey I appreciate the reply I confused Erectus and the Acheulean hand axe with the Neanderthal Mousterian blades.
"The available archaeological data on Homo erectus reveals that one type of tool was used for about a million years --one type of stone tool, for a
million years, all over Africa wherever Homo erectus is found after 1.4 mya."
What I find curious about the whole thing is that its an absolutely beautiful weapon. Its perfect in its design and it doesn't change. There is an axe
wielding factory that Erectus had in Africa where they find ten's of thousands of these guys at the shoreline of a river bed. They would sneak up on a
watering hole - and lob the axe into the air to graze the side of an antelope. Its natural reaction is to flail its legs out when scared - thus
falling to ground and would have been trampled by rest of antelope in the pack. After the dust settled Erectus would move in and finish the kill. The
Antelope never the wiser - returning to same watering hole without fear of predators.
Back to Neanderthal: Did they teach anyone anything?
Neanderthals developed the method of making cutting blades by knapping pre-shaped flint nodules. This was a development which may have derived from
the Acheulean hand axe.
For 300,000 years these cutting blades (generally known as the Mousterian) are also consistently the same shape. It was the process of knapping which
was culturally carried forward. The Neanderthal mind was on the technique, not on the end product. Only this explains how the blades remain the same
for such an unimaginably long time, and how no variations were ever developed. Yet the Neanderthals were apparently effective predators and
But for over 100,000 years (and perhaps 300,000 years) the Neanderthals never once dug a trench to sleep in, set up tent poles, placed rocks in a
circle for a fire, pierced shells or pretty stones, carved a representative image, or buried their dead. We, H.sapiens, did. And we made art as well.
Only during the last 20,000 years, when contact is made with the Cro-Magnon H.sapiens, who had invaded Europe from the east, does the repertoire of
the Neanderthals start to include other cutting tools, as well as ornaments, and the first burials.
edit on 4-9-2014 by 131415 because: (no reason given)