Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Not Evidence of "Evolution" - Evidence of Conceptual Intelligence

I missed this somehow in 2016 when the story came out, I think, so I'm posting it here now, from The Washington Post:

170,000 years before Stonehenge, Neanderthals built their own incredible structure

Sarah Kaplan, May 26, 2016

A 3D reconstruction of the structures in the Bruniquel Cave. (Xavier Muth - Get in Situ, Arch√©otransfert, Arch√©ovision -SHS-3D, base photographique Pascal Mora).
This deep inside the cave, sunlight was just a memory. Mineral-laden water dripped from the ceiling, accumulating on spiny stalagmites below. Every footstep echoed and long shadows cast by the fires danced on the damp, rugged walls.

Hundreds of centuries ago, someone trudged into that foreboding darkness. Methodically, they broke apart hundreds of stalagmites and arranged the pieces in cryptic piles on the cave floor: two stone rings, one vast and one small, and several piles containing charred rock. They may have been holding a religious ceremony. Or perhaps they simply needed a place to cook away from the cave bears and the cold. The purpose of these structures remains an enigma.

But their creators are not. In a study in the journal Nature, scientists report that these strange stalagmite piles found in the south of France were formed roughly 176,000 years ago by Neanderthals.


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