Neanderthals hunted mammoths, bison and other powerful animals for food — yet their fiercest foes may have been the massive eagles they snared to make jewellery. The talons of white-tailed eagles found at a Neanderthal site in Croatia show cut marks and patterns of wear that suggest the claws were donned as personal ornaments.Here is part of the image from the Nature News story, showing one set of ornaments.
“They’re very powerful birds. It takes a certain amount of bravery and foolishness, even, to catch one of these things,” says David Frayer, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, whose team describes the claws in paper published on 12 March in the journal PLoS ONE.1 With wing spans of around 2 metres, the birds are Europe’s largest aerial predator.
This is more evidence of advanced/metaphysical thought on the part of Neandertals (not to mention their hunting abilities) and helps to paint a better picture of a complex society that was emerging in Europe at this time.