The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News
Neanderthals add another string to their bow
Friday 13 December 2013

Colin Barrass reports in NewScientist on the ever-emerging picture of our Neanderthal cousins as more and more archaeological evidence is found and interpreted.

Neanderthals

Call it prehistoric string theory. The earliest evidence of string has been found - apparently created by our Neanderthal cousins.

Perishable materials usually rot away, so the oldest string on record only dates back 30,000 years. But perforations in small stone and tooth artefactsfrom Neanderthal sites in France suggest the pieces were threaded on string and worn as pendants. "The wear patterns provide circumstantial evidence of early use of string, but the evidence is not definitive," says Bruce Hardy at Kenyan College in Gambler, Ohio. Similar circumstantial evidence has been found in perforated shells.

Now, Hardy and his colleagues have found slender, 0.7-millimetre-long plant fibres that are twisted together near some stone artefacts at a site in south-east France that was occupied by Neanderthals 90,000 years ago. Such fibres are not twisted together in nature, says the team, suggesting that the Neanderthals were responsible (QuaternaryScience Reviews, doi.org/pzx).

"If they are indeed remnants of string or cordage, then they would be the earliest direct evidence of string," says Hardy. "Albeit very fragmentary evidence."

At 90,000 years old, the material purported to be string predates the arrival of Homo sapiens in Europe, That means the Neanderthals occupying the French site learned to make it themselves, rather than imitating modern humans, says Hardy. In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests our extinct cousins developed a number of sophisticated behaviours - and perhaps even taught some skills to our species when the two met.

Last year, stone tools created by Neanderthals were found on Mediterranean islands, hinting that the species may have made and used boats to cross the sea - although no direct evidence of boats has been found. Hardy points out that sturdy ropes would have been necessary to build and use rafts and boats. "The ability of Neanderthals to manufacture string and cordage certainly does make the idea of Neanderthal seafaring more plausible," he says.

Extract taken from Colin Barras, NewScientist, 16 November 2013

Comment
Paleoanthropology
When Did the Early Humans Acquire a Mind?
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 23 June 2020
Genetic distance of Neanderthals & humans
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 04 June 2020
Altai Neanderthals trapped & hunted golden eagles
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 14 May 2020
Oldest H. sapien bones found in Bulgaria
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 12 May 2020
Neanderthals used flowers in mortuary rituals
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 19 February 2020
Paleo diet of roasted vegetables
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 21 January 2020
Neanderthals dived for shells to make tools
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 20 January 2020
The extinction of the Neanderthal
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 28 November 2019
Skull found in Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 11 July 2019
Ice Age wolf found
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 12 June 2019
DNA reveals ancient migrations
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 06 June 2019
Archaeological evidence from hearths
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 20 May 2019
Studio Libeskind in Kenya
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 15 May 2019
Oldest footprint in the Americas
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 29 April 2019
DNA reveals origin of Stonehenge builders
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 16 April 2019
New research on Homo floresiensis
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 14 March 2019
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
If you have enjoyed visiting this website
please consider adding a link © Bradshaw Foundation
 
 
ROCK ART NETWORK
Rock Art Network Bradshaw Foundation Getty Conservation Institute
Animals in Rock Art
by Rock Art Network
7 October 2020
PALEOANTHROPOLOGY
Bradshaw Foundation Donate Friends
Support our work & become a
Friend of the Foundation
 
 
Bradshaw Foundation Facebook
 
Bradshaw Foundation YouTube
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store