Speaking of Neanderthals, it turns out that “Neanderthals Used Red Ochre Pigment 250,000 Years Ago” (Popular Archaeology, February 11, 2012), in a phrase very familiar to Uncommon Descent readers, “much earlier than thought”:
We have seen cave paintings where the splashy red pigment was used to create images by ancient humans in present-day Europe tens of thousands of years ago. Scientists have said that ancient humans used it generally in Europe about 40,000 – 60,000 years ago, in West Asia as long ago as 100,000 years, and by the ancients in Africa as long ago as 200,000-250,000 years. Now, a new study suggests that Neanderthals were also using it in the present-day Netherlands region of Europe as far back as 200,000-250,000 years ago, if not earlier.
See also: Assumptions about Neanderthals “must be revised” on the basis of “severely degraded DNA”?