Neanderthals used stone instrument tech as soon as thought-about unique to Homo sapiens

Neanderthals used stone tool tech once considered exclusive to Homo sapiens

Enlarge (credit score: Blinkhorn et al. 2021)

The entangled historical past of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals within the Levant (the realm across the jap finish of the Mediterranean) simply bought much more difficult. Paleoanthropologists just lately recognized a tooth from Shukbah Cave, 28km (17.5 miles) northwest of Jerusalem, as a Neanderthal molar. That makes Shukbah the southernmost hint of Neanderthals ever discovered, and it additionally hyperlinks our extinct cousins to a stone instrument expertise beforehand thought-about an unique trademark of Homo sapiens.

The Levant was one of many first areas hominins reached once they started to develop past Africa, and the archaeological file means that early growth occurred in a sequence of waves. At some websites, layers of artifacts present that members of our species lived there for some time earlier than being changed by Neanderthals, and vice versa. It was a geographical crossroads, and like all such locations, its story is dynamic and sophisticated—and it may be onerous to piece collectively from the bits of bone and stone left behind.

Usually, stone instruments are archaeologists’ greatest clue about who lived at a web site and when. There are various methods to form a bit of flint into one thing helpful like a scraper or a hand ax, and archaeologists acknowledge totally different cultures primarily based on refined variations in these strategies and the form of the ensuing instruments. One method to toolmaking, which produces distinctive stone factors, known as Nubian Levallois. It’s one among a number of variations on a common theme of chipping flakes off a ready stone core to supply a instrument. One other variation on that theme is Mousterian expertise, which is normally discovered at Neanderthal websites in western Europe. Nubian Levallois instruments have a tendency to show up at websites from southern Africa to northeastern Africa.

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