Sunday, 29 May 2016

We should not underestimate the Neanderthal Mind

3D reconstruction
Neanderthal "rock circles"

An article in Nature, reported on the BBC News Site, describe the discovery of circles of stalagmite fragments deep inside a French cave. they are dated to have been constructed about 175,000 years ago - long before Homo sapiens reached Europe - at a time when Neanderthals are known to have been in the area. We will probably never know what motivated the people who broke off and arranged these stalactite fragments  but it is clear that they had sufficient control of fire - for lighting - to travel more than 300 metres into the cave and were prepared to explore pitch-dark underground passages for a considerable distance and spend some time working there.

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