From National Geographic:
The strange rings are crafted from stalagmites and are roughly 176,000 years old, scientists report today in Nature. And if the rings were built by a bipedal species, as archaeologists suspect, then they could only be the work of Neanderthals, ancient human relatives that are proving to be much more “human” than anticipated.
“This discovery provides clear evidence that Neanderthals had fully human capabilities in the planning and the construction of ‘stone’ structures, and that some of them penetrated deep into caves, where artificial lighting would have been essential,” says paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.More.
And, from Nature, no one knows why they did it:
“The big question is why they made it,” says Jean-Jacques Hublin, a palaeoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany who was not involved in the study, which is published online in Nature on 25 May 1. “Some people will come up with interpretations of ritual or religion or symbolism. Why not? But how to prove it?”
Does anyone know why Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice?
Anyway, why do we need semi-human species? They’re always doing a bunk, it turns out.
See also: Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents
A deep and abiding need for Neanderthals to be stupid. Why?