Crumb Trail
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Monday, September 22, 2003

Bones from French cave show Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon hunted same prey

'This study suggests Cro-Magnon were not superior in getting food from the landscape,' said lead author Donald Grayson, a University of Washington professor of archaeology. 'We could detect no difference in diet, the animals they were hunting and the way they were hunting across this period of time, aside from those caused by climate change.

'So the takeover by Cro-Magnon does not seem to be related to hunting capability. There is no significant difference in large mammal use from Neanderthals to Cro-Magnon in this part of the world. The idea that Neanderthals were big, dumb brutes is hard for some people to drop. Cro-Magnon created the first cave art, but late Neanderthals made body ornaments, so the depth of cognitive difference between the two just is not clear.'

The study also resurrects a nearly 50-year-old theory first proposed by Finnish paleontologist Björn Kurtén that modern humans played a role in the extinction of giant cave bears in Europe. Cro-Magnon may have been the original 'apartment hunters' and displaced the bears by competing with them for the same caves the animals used for winter den sites.

If you too wonder what became of the Neanderthals you could do worse than visit this site dedicated to the issue.

Here you will find up-to-date information on the prehistoric people of Eurasia known as Neanderthals, and on the early modern humans who succeeded them.

Who were these two groups of people? (see below). How were they related? How did they interact? Where did the first modern humans come from? And what eventually became of the Neanderthals? Final answers to these questions have yet to be found, but this web site allows you to share in the quest for knowledge about this fascinating period of prehistory.

posted by back40 | 9/22/2003 01:41:00 PM


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