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Smarter than We Thought: Neanderthals Built Mystery Cave Rings 175,000 Years Ago

Van Basten

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By William Herkewitz

Neanderthals Built Mystery Cave Rings 175,000 Years Ago

​​Surprise! Neanderthals weren't just more sophisticated than you thought. They also built structures deep inside caves.


They painted magnificent cave paintings. They mastered fire and used tools. And now we know they constructed complex buildings deep within subterranean caves, and they did it more than 175,000 years ago. No, we're not talking about early humans. Neanderthals did all this.

A team of archaeologists led by Jacques Jaubert at the University of Bordeaux, in France has just completed an archaeological examination of a mysterious find: the rubble of two ancient Neanderthal-made buildings meticulously crafted from stalagmites. The site is located 1,000 feet into a dark, twisting cave 30 miles outside what is now Toulouse in southwestern France. The discovery is the first of its kind and, the researchers say, radically alters the understanding of Neanderthal culture. Jaubert's team outlines their exploration today in a paper in the journal Nature.

"Because Neanderthals were the only [human-related primate] group present in western Europe at that time, the discovery provides the first directly dated evidence for Neanderthals' construction abilities. It also shows that Neanderthals explored underground," writes Marie Soressi, archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands (not involved in Jaubert's archaeological examination), in an essay accompanying the study.

The scientists found more than 400 stalagmites of similar size meticulously stacked to form the walls of two mysterious circular structures. (Refresher: Stalagmites are the mineral spears that rise up from the ground; stalactites are the hanging ones.) Although Bruniquel Cave was discovered in 1992 and clearly had primitive paintings near the cavern's mouth, only now have scientists like Jaubert been able to delve and explore into the cave's depths. The structures discovered today were found in the dark reaches 1,102 feet from the cave's entrance.

One of the ring structures is about 7 feet in diameter. The other is a bit more egg-shaped and varies between 22 and 15 feet in diameter. The rings have been blackened, cracked, and reddened—evidence that they were heated by fire. Jaubert's team confirmed the chemical fingerprints of fire during an analysis of the rings, and also uncovered what appear to be heated bones found inside.

Just what the Neanderthals were building deep within this French cave is not altogether clear. The rings could have been manically crafted during a single, accidental underground visit. They could have been frequently visited and played a more important function, as a refuge or spiritual destination, in Neanderthal activities. For now, this is just guesswork.

Rest of the article.

Looks like our late cousins/rivals were smarter than we thought.

Thoughts?
 

Deuce

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I know from movies that ancient archaeological sites with ring structures never end well!

Pretty neat though. We've always thought ourselves special and unique: the toolmakers and fire users. I wonder if any of our other primate cousins will eventually get to this point, assuming we let them.
 

Cyrylek

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They actually had substantially larger cranial capacity than our kind. It is believed that they used all that extra brain for non-cognitive functions, like control of their bulky bodies, but findings like these may lead to increasing doubts...
 

EnigmaO01

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Three things:

1. Our species is very good at being arrogant and assuming that other species, ancestors, and animals are dimwits.

2. With all our advancements less than .00001 percent of the population has anything to do with them, and probably couldn't build a fire or be self sufficient enough to survive in a post apocalyptic environment without electricity etc.

3. That said I fail to see the sophistication of the circular structures.
 

longview

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There are a few hypothesis out there that Cro magnon man learned quite a bit from the Neanderthals.
That is was only after contact with the Neanderthals, did Cro Magnon really start to advance.
 

Howler63

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It does lead us to wonder what they knew. What they were REALLY like. Think about this...would we have bred with them on a scale large enough to carry around about 4% of their DNA if they were brutish, dumb animals? I don't think so.
 

RAMOSS

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It does lead us to wonder what they knew. What they were REALLY like. Think about this...would we have bred with them on a scale large enough to carry around about 4% of their DNA if they were brutish, dumb animals? I don't think so.

In fact, one of the interpolated genes that managed to get to over 90% of the European decent population is a gene related to brain development. There would not be such a strong distribution of a single gene
 

EnigmaO01

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It does lead us to wonder what they knew. What they were REALLY like. Think about this...would we have bred with them on a scale large enough to carry around about 4% of their DNA if they were brutish, dumb animals? I don't think so.

Oh I don't know… I know guys that will breed with anything that has a pulse and is female. :lol:
 

Deuce

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It does lead us to wonder what they knew. What they were REALLY like. Think about this...would we have bred with them on a scale large enough to carry around about 4% of their DNA if they were brutish, dumb animals? I don't think so.

Did they have boobs?
 

rhinefire

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Yaba daba do!!
 

Harry Guerrilla

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Looks like our late cousins/rivals were smarter than we thought.

Thoughts?

They certainly weren't dumb, proven by their methods of making stone spearheads, which were superior to ours.
The modern image of the dumb Neanderthal comes from the misunderstanding of a skeleton found, that person was hunched from severe arthritis iirc.

Most Asian and European humans have a varying degree of Neanderthal DNA, around 3-5%.
 

EnigmaO01

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It does lead us to wonder what they knew. What they were REALLY like. Think about this...would we have bred with them on a scale large enough to carry around about 4% of their DNA if they were brutish, dumb animals? I don't think so.

Well according to Ancient Aliens we were planted here from somewhere else and the Neanderthals were the natives. LOL
 
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