Neanderthal Findings Bring New Information

Calista Self, Staff Writer

For this Panogram article, I will be discussing an interesting topic regarding a top trending story in the world of science.

Neanderthals are an extinct species, or a subspecies of archaic humans and they belong to the Homo sapiens neanderthalensis grouping. They lived in Eurasia until roughly 40,000 years ago. Scientist believe that the Neanderthals went extinct due to competition or extermination from the immigrating modern human. Other possible extinction theories include climate change or disease. Neanderthals, compared to modern humans, were stockier with shorter limbs and a larger chest. Science believe they have these distinct features due to the cold climates they lived in. The first Neanderthal was found in 1856 in German and has since been studied exclusively and caused much debate over their existence such as their capability of speech. Neanderthals have always been depicted as being very primitive and stupid, however, that’s about to change.

A piece of string was found that may prove that the Neanderthals were not as stupid as once thought of. This string, in fact, is the oldest string ever found. It contains tiny bits of twisted plant fibers that were found on an ancient stone tool. This suggests that Neanderthals were capable of making sophisticated cords like string and rope. We may not think of rope or string as important today, but this was a key to survival. String can be used to make everything as such shelter and clothing.

The Scientific Reports told in a published journal that the prehistoric piece of string was preserved on a flint tool, dating back to around 41,000 to 52,000 years ago. This flint tool was found in southern France in a crave-like shelter.

With this new discovery, it provides evidences that Neanderthals weren’t so stupid as scientists have always assumed. Bruce Hardy, a paleoanthropologist at Kenyon College in Ohio states,” They are this sort of ultimate ‘other’ this creature that is very similar to us yet somehow is supposed to be too stupid to live.”

Hardy also points out that Neanderthals were smart enough to have lived for hundreds of thousands of years before disappearing. While examining the tool, Hardy saw flecks of white. He then took to his microscope to see a mass of twisted fibers. These twisted fibers were a small fragment of a three-ply cord. Hardy believes the fibers had come from the inner bark of some kind of evergreen tree.

The three bundles of fibers are twister counterclockwise, then once they are twisted, they twist again clockwise around each other to form the cord or string. Before this discovery, the earliest form of cord fragments had dated back to around 19,000 years ago in Israel. The National Museum of Natural History in Paris has stated that it is impossible for this twisted cord to be found in nature.

Not only was the flint tool found in the site, but other bones and tools as well. By finding bones, scientists were able to relate the findings to the Neanderthals.

This is definitely an interesting finding for the science community. It brings the connection between the modern human and the Neanderthal closer together.