Human evolution Intelligent Design

Neanderthals’ role in early art now recognized

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The World Before Us

Hey, we remember when the idea of Neanderthals doing any art was a bombshell in 2012. They were the certified subhuman. While it lasted.

A book by Tom Higham, due out this week, explores the issues: The World Before Us: How Science is Revealing a New Story of Our Human Origins

Researchers like Higham have turned up some interesting new findings:

“At the site of the Denisova cave, we’ve also uncovered evidence that intriguingly suggests that Denisovans too might have been involved in making personal ornaments and doing the kinds of things that hitherto we only thought were the exclusive preserve of us and later Neanderthals.”

That evidence includes rings and beads made out of mammoth tusks and ostrich eggshells. “Were these and the other ornaments made by both Denisovans and modern humans?” Higham asks.

New research means that all sorts of artworks and decorative items that have been assumed to be linked to the earliest modern human could have been created by Neanderthals or Denisovans, in the absence of other evidence.

Higham says: “The weight of 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 behaviour in Europe was prior to the widespread arrival of Homo sapiens.” Dalya Alberge, “ Neanderthals helped create early human art” at THe Guardian

It’s getting harder all the time to find the subhumans Darwinism needs. Will we end up having to hire somebody to play the role?

3 Replies to “Neanderthals’ role in early art now recognized

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Since evolution happens mostly by loss and subtraction, the same might be true of visual art. Subtraction is definitely true for language, which strengthens the analogy.


  2. 2
    EDTA says:

    I’d say Neanderthals still have a role in art too; just look at Postmodern art.

  3. 3
    Querius says:

    And speaking of Neanderthal art, here’s a little April foolishness:

    Evidence for Unsuccessful Evolutionary Auto-Domestication of Ursus Spelaeus by Neanderthal Humans

    While definitive scientific understanding is currently incomplete, recent discoveries of cave bear remains (Ursus spelaeus) comprising the complete skeletons of an adult male, adult female, and a juvenile Ursus along with those of a pre-pubescent Neanderthal female (Homo neanderthalensis) seem to indicate the termination of a nascent evolutionary domestic mutualism.

    Near the tiny French village of Qui se Soucie, a cave that the locals laconically refer to as la Grotte was investigated. After removing several tons of contemporary detritus, researchers were able to disinter the previously described remains, along with a scattering of Neanderthal artifacts, both decorative and utilitarian.

    Ursine hibernation was indicated by three pear-shaped depressions in the cave floor. The remains of what appears to have been a wood fire was located within a half meter of the large end of the largest depression.

    Evidence of an episode of vigorous activity in the cave included numerous claw marks on the cave walls as well as carbon deposits from one or more burning torches. Additional evidence of the Ursus as an opportunistic omnivore includes scarring and tooth indentations on the Neanderthal bones.

    The Neanderthal female, nicknamed “Goldilocks” by the researchers, apparently disturbed the hibernation of the bears by building a fire for additional warmth way too close to where the large, male Ursus was hibernating and, as one researcher described it, “setting his caboose on fire.”

    “Obviously, the domestication scenario rapidly destabilized into a fatal asymmetric relationship,” noted another researcher.


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