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Researchers say Neanderthals were not our dimwitted inferiors

Published on May 1, 2014 6:54 AM
An exhibit shows the life of a Neanderthal family in a cave in the new Neanderthal Museum in the northern town of Krapina on Feb 25, 2010. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS  

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - No offence, but your ancestors probably were no brighter than a Neanderthal.

That is the message a pair of researchers delivered on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, after analysing archaeological evidence detailing the capabilities of Neanderthals, our closest extinct human relative, compared to the early modern humans who first crossed their path about 40,000 years ago.

The researchers said the findings show Neanderthals were anything but the incompetent dimwits that they are often deemed.

These include: Complex hunting methods that required a group effort and planning in advance; likely use of spoken language; use of pigments probably for body painting; use of symbolic objects like eagle claws and perforated animal teeth, probably for pendants; and the sophisticated use of fire.

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