This kind of complex thinking was unknown to them. However, this seems like a definitive test. A team of archaeologists found something in a cave in central Germany. It’s a huge deer bone. It has some strange engravings that were made about 51,000 years ago. It would show that Neanderthals carved symbols as well.
Are you a neanderthal man?
The fossil appeared in the unicorn cave southwest of Berlin. For centuries it was a place of pilgrimage to get a bone for this fantastic animal. Our species met Neanderthals there about 45,000 years ago. 5000 years later, the Neanderthals were extinct. And the sapiens they took over the planet. A few millennia later, art appeared. Was it only our species capable of it?
In 2019 a team found a huge deer phalanx in the unicorn cave. An imposing animal over two meters high. “At first glance there was only one cut mark,” explains Dirk Leder. He is the first author of the find. “Then there was a pattern in the form of wedges or connected chevrons. A deliberate drawing that probably hides some symbolic meaning, ”he points out.
They were convinced that it was the work of a. was Sapiens. But when the bone was dating, it was 51,000 years old. Back then there were only Neanderthals there. “The pattern on the bone tells us that whoever drew it followed a plan,” explains Leder. “It represents an abstract image. A symbol that can represent an idea or even a narrative in abbreviated form. You would probably understand its meaning. Something that none of us today can do. We stand clearly before what is commonly called symbolic thinking.
Geometric drawings by Neanderthals on stones and bones have been found in recent years. In the cave of La Pasiega in Cantabria there is a staircase that may have been painted by Neanderthals around 64,000 years ago. But its dating remains up for debate. The bone of the unicorn cave rules out that the Neanderthal culture came from the sapiens. The result was published today in published Natural ecology and evolution.
Crosses and learning
“Neanderthals were cognitively very similar to sapiens, at least not inferior, ”claims Leder. DNA analysis shows that there was a cross between the two species more than 50,000 years ago. Other studies point to older hybrids around 100,000 years ago. It is therefore possible that the authors of the German bone were mestizo.
This possibility “does not undermine the cognitive abilities of the Neanderthals. “It is the opposite. The integration of an innovation into one’s own culture is a sign of mental complexity. The unicorn cave bone brings the behavior of the Neanderthals closer to that of the homo sapiens“, Close.
“The result is convincing,” says Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo. He is a prehistorian from the Complutense University in Madrid. A few years ago, in Tarragona, he discovered an imperial eagle’s claw with a vertical row of notches made by Neanderthals. “Why is the evidence so scarce?” Says Rodríguez-Hidalgo. “We hope to find more information soon,” he emphasizes.