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Neanderthals weren’t as stupid as dumb scientists thought – they could make fire and used resin ‘glue’ to craft their stone tools and stuff.

Neanderthal thinking joke

Neanderthals might not be as duh, duh, dumb as we thought

It seems as if Neanderthals were not as dumb as scientists thought. They were believed to be scavengers who made primitive tools and were incapable of language or symbolic thought. But archaeologists rummaging around in a cave in Italy found some of the oldest known evidence of the Neanderthals using glue on their stone tools. The process is called “hafting” and it wasn’t believed the slope-headed cousins of Homo sapiens knew how to do it. It would seem the widely held notion that Neanderthals were dimwitted and that their inferior intelligence allowed them to be driven to extinction by the much brighter ancestors of modern humans is not supported by scientific evidence.

Tools found in cave hint at something more

Neanderthals thrived in a large swath of Europe and Asia between about 350,000 and 40,000 years ago. The tools the scientists found in Italy dated to about 40 to 50 thousand years ago. Scientists thought Neanderthals lacked intelligence and were surprised to find they could fashion sophisticated weapons.

“We continue to find evidence that the Neanderthals were not inferior primitives but were quite capable of doing things that have traditionally only been attributed to modern humans.”

More than 1,000 tools were found in the Italian caves. Analysis of the tools showed the “glue” was pine resin from local pine trees mixed with beeswax. The Neanderthals used the glue to attach stone tools to wooden handles.

All that and they could make fire too!

The find also hinted at something else not considered before. Since pine resin dries in the air, it would have needed to be heated to apply to the tools. This means the Neanderthals knew how to make fire, another skill that scientists did not believe they had the knowledge to do.

Homo sapiens neanderthalensis-Mr. N
A picture? Why, sure… But are you sure that thing won’t steal my soul?

Image Credits

In-Article Image Credits

Homo sapiens neanderthalensis-Mr. N via Wikimedia Commons by Neanderthal-Museum, Mettmann with usage type - Creative Commons License. January 22, 2008

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