Monday, April 19

Neanderthals Helped Create Early Human Art, Says Researcher | Archeology


When Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Homo sapiens met 50,000 years ago, these archaic and modern humans not only interbred during the thousands of years in which they overlapped, but exchanged ideas that led to increased creativity, according to an outstanding academic.

Tom Higham, professor of archaeological sciences at Oxford University, argues that their exchange explains “a proliferation of objects in the archaeological record,” such as pierced teeth and shell pendants, the use of pigments and dyes, decorated and incised bones, Art figurative carving and cave painting: “In the early 50,000’s, until about 38,000 to 40,000 years ago, we see a massive growth in these types of ornaments that we just didn’t see before.”

Between 40,000 and 150,000 years ago, our cousins ​​included Neanderthals, Homo floresiensis, Homo Luzonesis, and Denisovans.

“Now it’s just us; there are no other types of humans on the planet, ”says Higham. “We always thought that the origins of art and complex cognitive thinking were the hallmarks of us modern humans. This was called the human revolution. The basis for this hypothesis, which emerged in the 1970s, was that humans left Africa and brought with them a cognitive ability that no other type of humans, particularly Neanderthals, had … Now what we think is happening is that … is not restricted to modern humans at all.

“If our groups crossed paths, then the cultural transfer – the exchange of ideas, thoughts and language – could have also been occurring. Human beings are good at getting new ideas. “

The latest research, which is based on recent findings from international scientists and archaeologists, will be included in Higham’s next book, The World Before Us: How Science is Revealing a New Story of Our Human Origins, to be published by Viking on March 25.

He writes that Earth was a primarily complicated place 50,000 years ago: “To borrow Tolkien’s words, we should think of it as a true ‘Middle Earth’ in terms of the diversity of forms of the human family that existed at that time. . There were five, six, or even more different types of humans present in various parts of the world. “

In the book, through the latest scientific and technological advances, including radiocarbon dating and analysis of ancient DNA, Higham explores how we became the only humans on Earth and how our ancestors lived, “and they live in our genes. today”.

He is a world expert in technology who is revolutionizing what we know about previous human species. Archaeological and genetic discoveries are transforming our understanding of our ancestors.

Higham is among the scholars who have been working in Siberia, where a new type of human, the Denisovans, was discovered in a remote cave in 2010. From a bone fragment from a finger so small that it would not have been identifiable before, they were able to extract crucial DNA details linking them to people scattered across a vast area of ​​Eurasia, including Southeast Asia.

He says: “Denisovans are closely related to Neanderthals and to us. As with Neanderthals, we come across them. People today, depending on where they are geographically, have a small amount (and in some cases large amounts) of Denisovan DNA.

“At the Denisova cave site, we have also uncovered evidence that intriguingly suggests that Denisovans may also have been involved in making personal adornments and the sorts of things that until now we only thought were our exclusive domain and later Neanderthals. “

That evidence includes rings and beads made from mammoth tusks and ostrich egg shells. “Were these and other ornaments made by Denisovans and modern humans alike?” Higham asks.

New research means that all sorts of artwork and decorative items that were supposed to be linked to early modern humans could have been created by Neanderthals or Denisovans, in the absence of other evidence.

Higham says: “The weight of the evidence now suggests that if there was cultural transmission, it probably occurred in both directions, and that the earliest evidence for the beginnings of complex behavior in Europe predated the widespread arrival of Homo sapiens.”


www.theguardian.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *