Posts Tagged ‘modern neanderthal’

Neanderthal Teaches Science a Thing or Two

Church of Darwin, Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
May 13 2009

Did man evolve from primitive, less intelligent forms into presumably smarter, brainier and more sophisticated modern man? Or as we learn from the Bible, did he begin with language, intelligence, problem solving capability equal to that of “modern” man? The answer is, the more we learn about Neanderthal and Cro Magnon, the more science realizes that their initial, evolution derived assessment of him is wrong…..s8int.com

Evidence of Modern Smarts in Stone Age Superglue
By Brandon Keim Wired Science, May 12, 2009

Researchers who reverse-engineered an ancient superglue have found that Stone Age people were smarter than we thought.

Making the glue, originally used on 70,000-year-old composite tools, clearly required high-level cognitive powers. Anthropologists usually use symbolic art as the benchmark for modern cognition, but making the glue was an equally profound accomplishment.

“These artisans were exceedingly skilled; they understood the properties of their adhesive ingredients, and they were able to manipulate them knowingly,” wrote University of Witwatersrand archaeologists in a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The archaeologists took design cues from stone tools found during a decade of excavation at South Africa’s Sibudu Cave site. The stones were still covered with traces of an iron-rich red pigment and acacia gum, a natural adhesive found in the bark of acacia trees.

Acacia gum was almost certainly used to attach the stones to wooden shafts, but researchers have debated the pigment’s role. Some suggested that it was decoration. The Witersrand team suspected a more functional use.

Indeed, when they used Stone Age toolmaking techniques to attach stones to wooden shafts with nothing but acacia gum, the tools soon fell apart. When they added the pigment, the tools stuck together. But making the glue required much more than simple mixing. It demanded careful and sustained attention.

Keeping the fire at the right temperature required certain types of wood, with a certain degree of moisture content. If glues were mixed too close to the fire, they contained air bubbles. If too dry, they weren’t cohesive; if too wet, they were weak. The Sibudu Cave’s Stone Age inhabitants, wrote the researchers, were “competent chemists, alchemists and pyrotechnologists.”

The Sibudu tools were about as old as the first possible evidence of symbolic art, also found in South Africa. But some archaeologists say that art, consisting of cross-hatched engravings on stone, may represent absent-minded doodles rather than a cognitive leap. The glues are a more convincing indication of modern intelligence.

“The glue maker needs to pay careful attention to the condition of ingredients before and during the procedure and must be able to switch attention between aspects of the methodology,” wrote the Witwatersrand team. “To hold many courses of action in the mind involves multitasking. This is one trait of modern human minds, notwithstanding that even today, some people find multilevel operations difficult.”

Neanderthal Illustrator Goes “Extinct”?

Amusing?, Church of Darwin, s8int.com, Science, Sophistication of Ancestors | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 24 2008

Cecil Dallas: Good morning, Mr. E.W. Jones, I’m Cecil Dallas from KCOO Breaking News. When News Breaks, We Fix It!

Mr. E. W. Jones: Good morning. You’re half an hour late. As you can see, I’m in the middle of something right now.

Cecil Dallas: My apologies. I had a Live standup remote in front of the River City bank branch that was robbed two weeks ago. Had to coordinate with Live Copter 3.

Now, you’re known as the Father of “Neanderthal Man”, isn’t that right, Mr. Jones.

Mr. E. W. Jones: I have been called that, which is ironic because I never had any children of my own. Neanderthal is kind of my “baby” so to speak. Of course, my contribution has primarily been to picture Neanderthal for science and the general public. It’s my illustrations of him that have really set the tone, I suppose; strong, inhuman, humanish, hairy, primitive with an air of; I just might evolve into something important!

Cecil Dallas: How about the Neanderthal woman? What’s her signature look?

Mr. E. W. Jones: Smaller mustaches.

Cecil Dallas: I wasn’t aware that you use live models?

Mr. E. W. Jones: Not all the time, no. But having a live model helps me get things like musculature and facial expressions correct. You’d be surprised how that humanizes, no pun intended, my Neanderthal drawings and paintings, like this one here.

This gentleman for instance, really helps me get the Neanderthal scowl down in a realistic manner. And I’m very proud of my little, primitive touches that really convey “cave man”. Like the unibrow. And of course, copious body hair. I give them a slightly aware but confused expression which says; “why are you looking at me for”?

Cute story on the body hair; that idea came from a very hirsute gentleman who waited on me at a local restaurant when I was working on my first drawing! Parted his arm hair on the side. True story!

Cecil Dallas: How’d you come to be the preeminent Neanderthal illustrator/painter in the world, Mr. Jones. Did you have a special background for it?

Mr. E. W. Jones: I’m no one trick pony. I’m also known for my drawings of Cro Magnon, as well.. You know, he said wistfully, I came by this work honestly. My father and grandfathers were caveman illustrators for a time until tragedy struck, for both of them. My grandfather drew the most noteworthy and widely distributed version of “Nebraska Man” which took off like wildfire for a time and made his career. Then they found out that it was a pig’s tooth!

Then with my father, it was Piltdown man. Need I say more?

Cecil Dallas: Please do! So despite these tragedies, you followed your father and grandfather into the business?

Mr. E. W. Jones:. Well, I’ve always been interested in art and in science. Early on, I was doing drawings and paintings primarily of prehistoric insects like the spider and prehistoric ants and the like. I drew them for science magazines and newspapers; you know whenever someone found some new ones in amber etc. I got to know all the parties that way.

Cecil Dallas: Interesting! What do primitive spiders and ants look like?

Mr. E. W. Jones: Oh, well, first, picture in your mind a spider or an ant that you would see today.

Cecil Dallas: O.K. Then what?

Mr. E. W. Jones: Then nothing. That’s what they looked like.

Cecil Dallas: Oh!, Well, the reason we are here to today is that we understand that the preeminent Neanderthal illustrator in the world is retiring, is that true?

We’re Live!

Studio Model: Look, you two. I need to get back to my books. Those who waste my time are either ignorant, or dare I say it; wicked!

Mr. E. W. Jones: I’m not leaving Neanderthal, he’s leaving me! The Neanderthal man that I created, that has been the standard for so many years in science; the primitive, hulking caveman is going the way of the dinosaur. He has become extinct.

Cecil Dallas: Cecil Dallas, Breaking News, here Live! with caveman illustrator, E.W. Jones. You say that Neanderthal has become extinct? I thought he already was extinct.

Mr. E. W. Jones: Not him, my drawings! It’s all been really too much. In the last few years scientific discoveries have made him seem more and more like you and me. My illustrations of the more primitive Neanderthal man are no longer in vogue. I’ve been ruined first by forensic science, then by DNA analysis and now, even by anthropologists who have previously guided my creations! If it weren’t for Nova and certain other science programs I would have retired years ago!

They walked upright. They buried their dead. They maybe had language. They interacted with modern humans. Their DNA matches human DNA to 99.99%. They made tools as good or better than “modern humans”. They played soccer! Whatever! If they were stronger, had larger brains, and could kill mammoths, how come they didn’t wipe us out, some wonder?

And now, another blow. Did you read this latest piece in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.?

Cecil Dallas: Umm, no. I haven’t read mine through, yet.

Mr. E. W. Jones: Neanderthals ate seals and dolphins! Just like their “modern man” counterparts. This means that they could keep a calendar, because that prey was seasonal, it means that they could fish, use tools, possibly language. For years, the scientists I work with had said the ability to catch large seafood staples separated modern man from the more primitive Neanderthal!

Some of these guys are perplexed because they had listed all these reasons why superior modern man eliminated Neanderthal and one by one they’ve all been knocked down. Worst of all, forensic science indicates that they looked “like us”.

Cecil Dallas: So, I take it that this here is one of your last, primitive Neanderthal type paintings?

Mr. E. W. Jones: No! Why do people keep saying that? This is one of my new, modern looking Neanderthals!

I’m getting out of this business!

Cecil Dallas: What will you do now?

Mr. E. W. Jones: I’m going to do portraits at fairs and carnivals. Also, I’m going to become a wedding photographer. Here’s my card. Of course I expect to still get the occasional commission from Nova. They are slow to make changes on some of these things, you know? Their Ancient Egyptians are still white! If wedding photography doesn’t work out I’ll try my hand at Hobbits.

Studio Model: If I don’t get up off of this chair in a very few minutes I’m going to have to evolve a thicker keister!!!!

Mr. E. W. Jones: Look Dawk! I don’t know why you’re in such a bad mood? I’m out of business here and you just signed a lucrative endorsement deal with “Selfish Jeans”.

Neanderthal Ate Seals and Dolphins