Scientists identify last Neanderthal refuge

2011-05-13 09:33

New York - Scientists have identified what may be one of the last northern refuges of Neanderthals, a spot near the Arctic Circle in Russia with artefacts dated to 31 000 to 34 000 years ago.

Stone tools and flakes found there look like the work of Neanderthals, the stocky, muscular hunters who lived in Europe and western Asia until they were replaced by modern humans, researchers reported on Thursday in the journal Science.

The site lies along the Pechora River west of the Ural Mountains, about 150km south of the Arctic Circle.

Researchers dated it from animal bones and sand grains. Nobody has found any human bones or DNA that could provide stronger evidence that Neanderthals lived there, report the scientists, from Russia, France and Norway. The artefacts had been collected during various expeditions.

Neanderthals first appeared more than 200 000 years ago. They died out sometime after modern humans arrived in Europe, which occurred some 40 000 to 45 000 years ago.

Modern people

Richard Klein, a Stanford University professor of anthropology, said the artefacts do look like the work of Neanderthals, but that it's also possible they were made by modern people instead.

Neanderthals were not previously known to be in that area, nor convincingly shown to be present anywhere at such a recent time, he said. Finding another site or human bones would help settle the question, he said.

Eric Delson, a paleoanthropologist at Lehman College of the City of New York, cited a 2006 study that suggests Neanderthals occupied a cave near the southern tip of Spain at about the same time as the new work puts them in Russia.

Maybe the two locations show how Neanderthals retreated in opposite directions from the encroachment of the modern humans, he said.

  • Wezz - 2011-05-13 09:56

    And here I thought it was Luthuli house...

      Together - 2011-05-13 10:05

      Anyone who's interested in this subject, read a work of fiction by Michael Crichton called "Eaters of the Dead" - a brilliant story that plays down in a similar area.

  • mufasa - 2011-05-13 10:01

    This news just in from supernatural realm: The Tokolosh has been double crossed by the ANC and as a result a declaration of war from the the Tokolosh and supernatural realm have been made towards the ANC, they state "If you vote DA the Tokolosh and his comrades will leave you in peace for as long as you support the DA" The Tokolosh also said ANC paid him and his comrades to scare the two who killed ET, if they did not comply they would be haunted for eternity, also to start the war in Libya for the arms deal which made the ANC millions. Reports have been confirmed that Juju have been consulting the which of the South to speak directly to Hitler on tactics to over throw the ANC and start another civil war. Hitler was paid in Jews. On a brighter side the Fairies of Never Never Land have won the Sparkle competition leaving the care bears in second and Cinderella in third. For your news from the grave and beyond this is Mufasa wishing you happy elections.

  • Together - 2011-05-13 10:04

    Anyone who's interested in this subject, read a work of fiction by Michael Crichton called "Eaters of the Dead" - a brilliant story that plays down in a similar area.

  • Beedyeye - 2011-05-13 10:36

    Luthuli house Johannesburg CBD, i knew it!

  • BakkieB - 2011-05-13 10:38

    lol..knew what the posts would end up

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