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article imageMakeup And Neanderthals

By KJ Mullins     Mar 27, 2008 in Science
Maybe Neanderthals weren't so different from modern man. New discoveries point to towards early man and makeup. Francesco d'Errico from the University of Bordeaux has found lumps of pigments left behind Neanderthals across Europe.
These pigments could very well have been makeup that Neanderthals used to mark their own with along with animal skins. It leads to reason according to d'Errico that perhaps these early men were capable of speech also.
Marie Soressi of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and d'Errico have found black manganese pigment from two sites at Pech de l'Azé in France. These sites plus 39 other sites that have had evidence of pigments were all occupied by Neanderthals. These pigments were shaped into crayon like drawing tools.
"The flat, elongated surfaces on the archaeological specimens are consistent, as confirmed experimentally, with producing clearly visible straight black lines, perhaps arranged to produce abstract designs," says d'Errico, who presented his work on 15 March at the Seventh Evolution of Language Conference in Barcelona, Spain.
Body drawing is a form of communication insists d'Errico. By having these 'crayons' they would have been able to draw symbols on one another. There have also been necklaces found in these sites made from shell beads.
"Some archaeologists are happy to associate these same features with language if they occur with modern humans, but are not willing to associate them with language among the Neanderthals," says anthropologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St Louis, US.
"The double standard doesn't work - if they reflect language in one, they must reflect in it both."
Although it is possible that early man had the ability of speech it does not mean that they spoke in the same way that modern man does.
"The archaeological record does not show that they ever attained the cultural level of the humans who could talk as we do," says Phillip Lieberman, a linguist at Brown University, Rhode Island, US.
"Neanderthals possessed language, but their linguistic and cognitive ability was inferior to the humans who replaced them," he says.
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