Washington, Dec. 17 (ANI): A team of archaeologists have concluded that Neanderthals, forerunners to modern humans, buried their dead.
The 13-year study of remains discovered in southwestern France confirmed that burials took place in Western Europe prior to the arrival of modern humans.
Lead author William Rendu, a researcher at the Center for International Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CIRHUS) in New York City, said that this discovery not only confirms the existence of Neanderthal burials in Western Europe, but also reveals a relatively sophisticated cognitive capacity to produce them.
The findings center on Neanderthal remains first discovered in 1908 at La Chapelle-aux-Saints in southwestern France.
The well-preserved bones led its early 20th-century excavators to posit that the site marked a burial ground created by a predecessor to early modern humans.
Beginning in 1999, Rendu and his collaborators, including researchers from the PACEA laboratory of the University of Bordeaux and Archeosphere, a private research firm, began excavating seven other caves in the area.
In this excavation, which concluded in 2012, the scientists found more Neanderthal remains-two children and one adult-along with bones of bison and reindeer.
As part of their analysis, the study’s authors also re-examined the human remains found in 1908. In contrast to the reindeer and bison remains at the site, the Neanderthal remains contained few cracks, no weathering-related smoothing, and no signs of disturbance by animals.
Their findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)