Neanderthals probably were not full time cave dwellers

neanderthal burial scene shanidar cave
Credit: Karen Carr

Genetic, chemical and geological analysis tools help teams extract as much information as they can from the bones and tools our ancient ancestors left behind. Even then, there are still lots of questions left about how Neanderthals assembled shelters and carved out 200,000 years of existence across Europe.

“We usually relate Neanderthals with caves,” says Laura Sánchez-Romero, an archaeologist at the University of California, Berkeley, “but there are open-air sites that were also used for activities.” The association with cave dwellings make sense — a majority of known Neanderthal settlement sites are in these natural shelters, some of which might have had extra attributes that made the location more appealing than others. Proximity to water is always a plus, and a higher elevation could provide an ideal vantage point for assessing natural resources below, Sánchez-Romero says.

Related article:  Recording brain activity gets easier with novel device
Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

But caves likely get lots of attention because they are also the living spaces best preserved over time. Grasslands are more exposed to weather and scavengers, so any evidence of habitation is more likely to disappear across the millennia. Caves are also easier for archaeologists to examine. One formerly open-field location Sánchez-Romero excavated was in Basque country, which today is “like a jungle,” she says. “You can’t see more than 10 meters ahead of you.” Having to excavate a Neanderthal occupation site under all that shrubbery might deter some researchers, even though the sites are worth investigating.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend