Friday, August 1, 2008

Neandertals, too, missed the obvious.

There are many remains of the Neanderthals, since they performed primitive burials that prevented scavenging & destruction of the bodies.

So, we know that a lot of the Neanderthals carried "Rodeo lesion" skeletal injuries [scary adjective], suggesting "frequent close encounters with large ungulates unkindly disposed to the humans involved."

Combined with their burly stature & the fact that Neanderthal hunting tools are jab-style rather than projectile, this tells us that our closest relatives liked to stab pointy sticks into large animals, then hang on for the violent ride. They never figured out how to chuck a spear or arrow, then get out of the way.

This seems so simple & obvious that it boggles my mind to consider what absolutely critical information we humans have access to, yet utterly fail to process.

Thomas D. Berger and Erik Trinkaus
Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico

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