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Neanderthals, or even older Homo erectus("Upright Man") might have sailed around the Mediterranean, stopping at islands such as Crete and Cyprus, new evidence suggests. The evidence suggests that these hominid species had considerable seafaring and cognitive skills.
"They had to have had boats of some sort; unlikely they swam," said Alan Simmons, lead author of a study about the find in this week's Science. "Many of the islands had no land-bridges, thus they must have had the cognitive ability to both build boats and know how to navigate them."
Faces of our Ancestors
Simmons, a professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, added that there is no direct evidence for boats dating back to over 100,000 years ago. If they were built then, the wood or other natural materials likely eroded. Instead, other clues hint that modern humans may not have been the first to set foot on Mediterranean islands.
On Crete, for example, tools such as quartz hand-axes, picks and cleavers are associated with deposits that may date to 170,000 years ago. Previously, this island, as well as Cyprus, was thought to have first been colonized about 9,000 years ago by late Neolithic agriculturalists with domesticated resources.
In biology, particularly in island biogeography, non-anthropogenic rafts are an important concept. Such rafts consist of matted clumps of vegetation that has been swept off the dry land by a storm, tsunami, tide, earthquake or similar event; in modern times they sometimes also incorporate other kinds of flotsam and jetsam, e.g. plastic containers. They stay afloat by its natural buoyancy and can travel for hundreds, even thousands of miles and ultimately are destroyed by wave action and decomposition, or make landfall.
Biological rafts are important means of distribution for non-flying animals. For small mammals, amphibians and reptiles in particular, but for many invertebrates as well, such rafts of vegetation are often the only means by which they could reach and – if they are lucky – colonize oceanic islands before human-built vehicles provided another mode of transport.
Originally posted by AgentX09
This is wild.Seafaring cavemen.They'd have to mastered boat construction AND celestial navigation.I having trouble seeing pre-erectis having that intelligence level myself.
Originally posted by Hanslune
Comment, the earth has been known to be round for 2,300 years the Greeks figured that out - the date of 500 comes from a myth about Columbus which is incorrect
The graph shows 4 major ice ages, on a cycle of roughly 100,000 years. The last ice age peak was just over 20,000 years ago. At that time sea level was almost 400 feet (120 m) below the present due to the huge quantity of water locked up in the ice sheets, more than a mile deep over North America and Europe.