Volume 90 Issue 45 | p. 31 | Concentrates
Issue Date: November 5, 2012

Neanderthal Copycats

Dating results suggest early species copied body ornamentation from humans
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Analytical SCENE
Keywords: radiocarbon, Neanderthals, dating
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Credit: Marian Vanhaeren & Michèle Julien
Photo shows Neanderthal artifacts found in France.
 
Credit: Marian Vanhaeren & Michèle Julien

A stash of stone blades, bone artifacts, and body ornaments from Grotte du Renne and Saint-Césaire archaeological sites in France were made by Neanderthals up to about 40,000 years ago, reports a team led by Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, Germany (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1212924109). The scientists used accelerator mass spectrometry carbon-14 dating to show that the age of some 40 artifacts is consistent with that of a Neanderthal skeleton found at the site. Whether Neanderthals or humans made these artifacts has been intensely debated, given evidence that humans occupied the sites after Neanderthals. Although Hublin’s data show that Neanderthals made the ornaments, he says that they likely copied the know-how from humans instead of inventing it for themselves. That’s because Neanderthals started making body ornaments after humans arrived in Western Europe, he says.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

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