Friday, June 15, 2012

The Hand of a Neandertal?

TG Daily is reporting on a story that the hand prints in the famous cave of El Castillo have been redated and are over 40 thousand years old. If this is the case, it likely predates the arrival of the early moderns into the area and may be
Neandertal in origin. Emma Woolacott writes:
Such paintings can't be dated using standard radiocarbon dating, as they contain no organic pigment. But an international team used a new method to examine 50 paintings in 11 caves in Northern Spain, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Altamira, El Castillo and Tito Bustillo.

They dated the formation of tiny stalactites on top of the paintings using the radioactive decay of uranium, giving a minimum age for the pictures.
It would be really neat if they were hand prints of Neandertals and would give us another window into their thought processes, which seem more like ours every day.

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