Technology Weaver, very good fisherman ... New study deciphers Neanderthal...

Weaver, very good fisherman … New study deciphers Neanderthal brain


According to the study which appears this Thursday from an international study, the activities of our distant cousin reveal developed cognitive capacities, close to those of Homo Sapiens.

No one knows if he was making bracelets, but the Neanderthals had mastered the art of weaving long before us. At least that’s what an international team of researchers suggests whose study appears this Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. Paleoanthropologists who have been searching the Abri du Marais site for fifteen years, located at the exit of the Ardèche gorges, know that our distant cousin occupied it discontinuously between 90,000 and 40,000 years before Christian era. They regularly collect various lithic objects there. “On one of them in flint, we found residues of” twisted “ropes, that is to say that the Neanderthals turned the vegetable fiber with their fingers to make a rope, details Marie-Hélène Moncel , director of research at the CNRS, attached to the Prehistory laboratory of the Museum of Natural History (MNHN). A cognitive skill that was found only 20,000 years ago in Homo Sapiens, with the first known uses of weaving. ”

More than macramé, these cords could be used to close bags, the species Homo Neanderthalensis being known, for example, for its hunting mode which led it to butcher its prey far from its base camp before transporting the pieces. Using a scanning electron microscope, then an infrared spectrometer, the scientists established that the fiber came from conifers that Neanderthals would seek under the bark. “So he had to select the wood, prepare it, extract the fibers, count them and then weave them,” adds Marie-Hélène Moncel. These actions require surprising abstraction skills which combine an understanding of mathematics for winding fibers and a good knowledge of tree growth. ”

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