August 12, 2020


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Science publishes study on Neanderthals as pioneers in marine resource exploitation

Impression: Cracked-open and burnt fragments of Cancer pagurus pincer? view more  Credit rating: José Paulo Ruas...

Impression: Cracked-open and burnt fragments of Cancer pagurus pincer?
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Credit rating: José Paulo Ruas © João Zilhão

The journal Science has released a research led by the ICREA researcher João Zilhão, from the University of Barcelona, which provides the results of the excavation in Cueva de Figueira Brava, Portugal, which was used as shelter by Neanderthal populations about between 86 and 106 thousand many years ago. The research reveals fishing and shellfish-accumulating contributed considerably to the subsistence financial state of the inhabitants of Figueira Brava. The relevance of this discovery lies in the simple fact that so significantly, there were being not many indications of these methods as typical among the Neanderthals.

Relating to the effects of this research, João Zilhão notes that “an influent design on our origins implies the typical use of drinking water assets -wealthy in Omega3 and other fatty acids that favour the growth of brain tissues- would have enhanced the cognitive expertise of modern day anatomy human beings. That is, these human beings who, in Africa, were being contemporaries of Neanderthals and are generally regarded as the only ancestors of the current Homo sapiens”. But the results of the excavation of Figueira Brava point out that, if this typical use of marine assets played an important role in the growth of cognitive expertise, it did so on the full humanity, which include Neanderthals, and not only the African population that spread later on”.

Zilhão member of the Prehistoric Scientific tests and Study Seminar (SERP-UB), lists the exploration research in the line of “proof that amassed above the last decade to exhibit Neanderthals experienced a symbolic substance society”. Two many years ago, in 2018, the journals Science and Science Innovations released two studies co-led by João Zilhão which showed that a lot more than 65,000 many years ago, Neanderthals created cave paintings in at the very least a few caves in the Iberian Peninsula: La Pasiega, Maltravieso and Ardales (Science). Moreover, a lot more than one hundred fifteen,000 many years ago, they used perforated marine shells and with ocher stays, these as the kinds from Cueva de los Aviones (Murcia, Spain), as pendants and shell containers with residues of elaborate mixes of pigment (Science Innovations). These results, the most new a single staying the a single in Figueira Brava, “support a view on human evolution in which the known fossil variants, these as Neanderthals’ in Europe and its African anatomy contemporaries -a lot more very similar to ours-, ought to be comprehended as stays from our ancestors, not as diverse bigger-decrease species”, notes Zilhão.

A fifty% of the diet plan of the inhabitants in Figueira Brava was designed by coastal assets: molluscs (limpet, mussel and clams crustaceans (brown crab and spider crab) fish (shark, eel, sea bream, mullet) birds (mallard, typical scoter, goose, cormorant, gannet, shag, auk, egret, loon), and mammals (dolphin, seal). This was done with the hunt of deer, goats, horses, aurochs and other compact preys these as tortoises. Among the the other carbonised crops were being olive trees, vines, fig trees and other Mediterranean weather common species, among the which the most ample was the stone pine -its wood was used as combustible. Pine forests were being exploited as fruit tree gardens: mature pines, albeit shut, were being taken from the branches and stored in the cave, where the fireplace could open them so as to just take the pines.

The research also gives other results, these as the idea of the concept of Neanderthals as chilly and tundra peoples, professionals on hunting mammoths, rhinos, buffalos and reindeers, is biased. “Most Neanderthals would have lived in southern locations, specially in Italy and in the Iberian Peninsula, and its way of life would have been extremely very similar to these in Figueira Brava”, notes Zilhão.

A further important affirmation in the research is the familiarity of human beings with the sea and its assets as a thing more mature and wider than what was believed. “This could probably assist explain how, between forty five,000 and fifty,000 many years ago, human beings could cross the Timor Sea to colonize Australia and New Guinea, and then, about 30,000 many years ago, the closest islands to the western Pacific”, says Zilhão.


Write-up reference:

J. Zilhão, D. E. Angelucci, M. Araújo Igreja, L. J. Arnold, E. Badal, P. Callapez, J. L. Cardoso, F. d’Errico, J. Daura, M. Demuro, M. Deschamps, C. Dupont, S. Gabriel, D. L. Hoffmann, P. Legoinha, H. Matias, A. M. Monge Soares, M. Nabais, P. Portela, A. Queffelec, F. Rodrigues, P. Souto. “Final Interglacial Iberian Neandertals as fisher-hunter-gatherers”, Science, 367, March 27, 2020.

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