Apr 6, 2009 | 11
CHICAGO—Neandertals have long been portrayed as dumb brutes. But a growing body of evidence hints that these extinct humans were much savvier than previously thought. The results of a new study presented here last week at the annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society bolster that view, and suggest that, in fact, Neandertals acted in much the same way as early modern humans.
To compare the behavior of Neandertals and early moderns, paleoanthropologist Bruce Hardy of Kenyon College studied artifacts from a site in southwestern Germany called Hohle Fels. The site contains several levels of archaeological remains. One of these levels dates to between 36,000 and 40,000 years ago and contains tools manufactured in the Mousterian cultural tradition associated with Neandertals. Another comprises items that are 33,000 to 36,000 years old and are made in the Aurignacian style associated with early modern humans.
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