human evolution

Human Evolution. Neanderthals: Their Behavior.


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Neanderthals: their behavior

Much has been written about the cognitive disadvantages the Neanderthals could have had compared to Homo sapiens. Recent discoveries show that some of them were capable of symbolic thought, therefore possibly language. They handled tools and had common knowledge that enabled them to make the most of a wide variety of foods.

There is evidence that they had sophisticated behaviors once thought only practiced by humans, as shown in the table below.

Neanderthals not only ate meat. In 2012 a paper was published reporting that at least those individuals that were living in the Sidron cave in northern Spain, ate cooked food and even consumed a wide variety of medicinal plants.

After the publication of the complete genome sequence of the Neanderthals, we now know they have the same version of the FOXP2 gene we modern humans have: the gene related to language. They also have a hyoid bone like ours. This bone, located under the tongue and above the thyroid cartilage, facilitates the production of a variety of sounds. All of these findings reinforce the idea that Neanderthals did have language.

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