reply to post by Gorman91
I take it by "cultural artifacts" you mean art works.
There is the case of the spears (and a wooden piece along the lines of a boomerang) found in the German coal mine dated at 400k years ago, which while
serving a utilitarian purpose could be classified as "art", since they were designed for throwing (weight to the front) and fairly artfully made,
and there are isolated cases of dwellings (such as Bilzingsleben and Torralaba) Which are also utilitarian, but with a hint of planning and
forethought, and in the case of Bilzingsleben, speculation about religious ceremony. Since no human remains are associated, it can't be said with
certainty just which species produced them.
There is the Berekhet Ram sculpture from around 300k years ago, and another from Tan Tan in Morocco, I think, that is around the same age, but again
no human remains, and the sculptures themselves are fairly sketchy, rather than the more realistic style (relatively) of the later H. Sapiens
"venus" figurines. Neanderthals show evidence of religious thought, and ochre body paints and the like, but again it's sort of sketchy, not
necessarily what one would expect of H. Sapiens. The Neanderthal flute and various ornaments don't appear until after the putative H. Sapiens
invasion of Europe, so those could be learned, borrowed, or trade items.
Some modern tribes have a cultural life that is entirely perishable, rather than "cast in stone", and there is no reason to believe that other
species wouldn't have had such.
I don't know - it's all speculative in the absence of "hard" evidence. which for the most part really doesn't appear until the advent of H.
Sapiens, I tend to lean towards a more multi-regional model, especially in light of the recent discovery of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA in some
modern populations. ALL modern populations, in fact other than some sub-saharan African and some Australian Aborigine populations. Now, it could be
argued that H. Sapiens originated entirely in Africa, and just added genetic material as they roamed and plundered, but the fact remains that some
part of those earlier peoples, from other regions, still survives - in us.