Neandertals probably favored feathers in ornamentation (well, maybe)

February 6th, 2013 by badger

This paper is interesting, but with those new dates pushing back the Iberian Neandertals, makes me hesitate now, as a lot of this paper addresses avian bones from a Gibraltar site after 50k. That date was picked because:

“The prevailing paradigm among Palaeolithic archaeologists today is still one which regards flying birds to have been difficult prey to capture and beyond the capabilities of all hominins prior to 50 kya and non-modern hominins (including the Neanderthals) even after the 50 kya threshold. The corollary, which has been applied to the Neanderthals for the period after 50 kya, is that they only targeted birds once easier prey (presumed to be energetically less costly to obtain than birds) were exhausted.”

If all of the Neandertals were already dead though..

I skimmed the paper, missing any mention of carbon dating of the avian bones. The bones were associated with Neandertal sites. Maybe the whole paradigm about flying birds being difficult prey prior to 50k years ago is wrong? Or are these sites really associated with Neandertals?

Tags: ,

3 Responses to “Neandertals probably favored feathers in ornamentation (well, maybe)”

  1. Virginia Highlander says:

    They specifically mention Gorham’s, Vanguard, and Ibex, caves. All are Mousterian sites but unless Wiki is full of shit, again, none of the three has yielded hominid fossils. I suppose the revised Neandertal extinction date may force us to revisit our interpretation of Mousterian, though, won’t it?

  2. badger says:

    Yep. I stumbled on a link to this paper a few days before the new Iberian dating bubbled up. The new dating felt a little disappointing, as I’m sympathetic to the idea that archaics were relatively sophisticated.

  3. Virginia Highlander says:

    I think many of us are sympathetic. Seems like human nature to root for the underdog but it’s our objectivity that sets us apart from the lower orders — Republicans, Witnesses, Libertarians, Intelligent Designers, that sort of thing.

Leave a Reply