A long-held belief about different human species that once populated the Earth is that they didn’t interact with one another on a social level or had similar lifestyles. But in recent years, it has been established that different Hominins not only interacted but might have had intercourse or social relations. And now, a new study has found that Neanderthals, previously believed to be extremely primitive and unintelligent (compared to Homo Sapiens) might have used tools much like our own ancestors.
The statement is based on remains discovered at the Levant where a tooth from a nine-year-old Neanderthal child was discovered. Among the archaeological finds, there was proof of Nubian Levallois technology—something long believed to be an exclusive homo sapiens’ invention. These are basically tools created by carving stones.
The area is a gold mine for archaeologists and anthropologists as it has produced many ancient human fossils and tools in the past. But then the researchers noticed there were Neanderthal remains mixed with human ones—leading them to believe this site must have been inhabited by both.
“Sites, where hominin fossils are directly associated with stone tool assemblages, remain a rarity—but the study of both fossils and tools is critical for understanding hominin occupations of Shukbah Cave and the larger region,” said author Jimbob Blinkhorn, Pan-African Evolution Research Group at Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
In taxonomical terms, Hominin is the tribe that consists of dozens of genus and species related to human-like animals; including Home Sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo denisova and so on.
Some other primitive tools have been known to be used by both Homo species, but Nubian Levallois technology was thought to be exclusive of Homo sapiens. So much so that the distribution of Nubian Levallois technology is used to track down human dispersals when there are no fossilized remains.
With this discovery, a grey light has been cast on associating these tools as proof of human societies. Neanderthals were supposed to be only limited to European areas and H. sapiens, based on the tools discovered, were in Asia, Africa, Australia, and so on.
Neanderthals have not been known to inhabit Africa so far; but the assumption may change now. Shukbah is 400 kms from Cairo—which can make Neanderthal dispersal into Africa a possibility.
“This is the first time they've been found in direct association with Neanderthal fossils, which suggests we can't make a simple link between this technology and Homo sapiens,” Blinkhorn adds.