June 21, 2024

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A new discovery revises what we knew about Neanderthals

A new discovery revises what we knew about Neanderthals

Over the years, scientists have found more evidence of their intelligence and complexity Neanderthal.

a dangerous Its discovery in 1960 led researchers to assume that… Neanderthal They buried their dead with flowers – challenging the prevailing view that the ancients were stupid and brutal. Now scientists say it’s the key ingredient that helped shape the study Neanderthalmay have been interpreted incorrectly.

A close-up of the Shanidar Z sample box is shown during excavation. Photo/Christopher Owen Hunt.

archaeologist Ralph Solecki Discover it “Bury the flower”as it became known, While exploring the cave Shanidar In the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. He found many samples Neanderthal In the 1950s and 1960s, he came across a male skeleton that became known as… Schneider 4. The 65,000-year-old remains were surrounded by masses of pollen.

the Arlette Leroy-Gourhan, an archaeologist and pollen expert, hypothesized at the time that these clusters were anthers, the structures that contain pollen in flowers. She and Solecki suggested that Neanderthals would have placed flowers on the grave, in the same way many people do today.

“You’ll find this story in many archeology textbooks to this day,” said Chris Hunt, an emeritus professor at Liverpool John Morris University in the UK and lead author of a new study on the Shanidar site. “It was one of the things that convinced Solecki that Neanderthals were not just ugly and brutish, which is what people had thought up to that point. But in fact, they were people who cared and cared for each other.”

Over the years, scientists have found more evidence of their intelligence and complexity Neanderthal, including art, strings, and tools. However, the evidence for the flower burial theory does not seem to be of any value.

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Hunt and his colleagues were working in Shanidar Cave in 2014 when they found traces of ancient pollen on the surface of the cave floor.

While work by Hunt and colleagues suggests that the Venus burial hypothesis is flawed, recent work on Neanderthals at Shanidar Cave supports the core message of the ancient theory: that Neanderthals treated their dead with care.

The skeletons in the cave share common orientations and locations, suggesting that there may have been some meaning attached to how they were buried. Shanidar 4 and Shanidar Z, a more recent skeletal find published in 2020, were found near wood fragments. Hunt said he wondered if these were from branches placed over the bodies to protect them.

Specifically, Hunt said Shanidar Z was positioned as if she was asleep.

The “Venus Burial” discovered in 1960 reshaped the study of Neanderthals. A new discovery calls into question