Science & Tech

Ancient discovery shows Neanderthals were much smarter than we thought

Ancient discovery shows Neanderthals were much smarter than we thought
Study Suggests Early Risers May Have Neanderthal DNA
Wibbitz - Lifestyle / VideoElephant

The scientific community is making new discoveries all the time which can help paint a fuller picture of our ancient human relatives.

Now, it’s been revealed that Neanderthals were far smarter than we previously thought, and used complex adhesives to create effective stone tools.

The compound discovered by researchers is made of bitumen and ocher, and it bears similarities to the glue used by early Homo sapiens in Africa.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances suggests that Neanderthals, which are ancient cousins of the human race, used more tools than previously given credit for.

The research focuses on the study of stone tools found from the Le Moustier site in France, which dates back 40,000 years.

P. Schmidt

While Neanderthals were known to use birch pitch as an adhesive, the new research shows that tools contained residues which when analysed chemically were identified as goethite ocher and bitumen.

Patrick Schmidt is an author on the study. He said in a statement: “We were surprised that the ochre content was more than 50 per cent. This is because air-dried bitumen can be used unaltered as an adhesive, but loses its adhesive properties when such large proportions of ochre are added.”

He went on to say: “Compound adhesives are considered to be among the first expressions of the modern cognitive processes that are still active today. What our study shows is that early Homo sapiens in Africa and Neanderthals in Europe had similar thought patterns.”

Study author Radu Lovita added: “These astonishingly well-preserved tools showcase a technical solution broadly similar to examples of tools made by early modern humans in Africa, but the exact recipe reflects a Neanderthal ‘spin,’ which is the production of grips for handheld tools.”

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