Neanderthals made smart tools, according to reports from Exeter University and BBC News, 26 August 2008. A team of researchers from the University of Exeter, Southern Methodist University, Texas State University and the Think Computer Corporation, have recreated stone tools called flakes and blades. Neanderthals made flakes, but not blades, and it was believed that flakes were more primitive, and indicated Neanderthals were less skilled and intelligent than other stone-age people, and therefore died out because they could not compete with modern man. The researchers tested their tools for how much cutting-edge was created, the efficiency in consuming raw material and how long tools lasted. They found the flakes were just as effective tools as the blades, and therefore could not be used as evidence that Neanderthals were too stupid to make blades.
According to Exeter University, “Many long-held beliefs suggesting why the Neanderthals went extinct have been debunked in recent years. Research has already shown that Neanderthals were as good at hunting as Homo sapiens and had no clear disadvantage in their ability to communicate. Now, these latest findings add to the growing evidence that Neanderthals were no less intelligent than our ancestors.”
Metin Eren, who led the study, commented: “Our research disputes a major pillar holding up the long-held assumption that Homo sapiens were more advanced than Neanderthals. It is time for archaeologists to start searching for other reasons why Neanderthals became extinct while our ancestors survived. Technologically speaking, there is no clear advantage of one tool over the other. When we think of Neanderthals, we need to stop thinking in terms of ‘stupid’ or ‘less advanced’ and more in terms of ‘different’.”
Editorial Comment: What we really need to do is stop thinking that Neanderthals were anything else but humans living in a tough environment. In spite of all the efforts to label them as sub-human to bolster the theory of evolution, whenever scientists study some specific aspect of Neanderthal structure or function they come up with results that fit with fully formed humans. There is certainly no reason to ever think they were stupid. The average brain size for Neanderthals was larger than that of the modern day average.
Evidence News 29 October 2008