Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Last Neandertals and Climate Change

Joao Zilhao is now suggesting that the last surviving Neandertals had to have died out around 37 ky, rather than 27 ky which is what has been thought for the last several years. According to a story in Yahoo News:
The paper, by Professor Zilhao and colleagues from the University of Bristol, revealed new dating evidence for the Late Aurignacian of Portugal, an archaeological culture associated with modern humans, which firmly constrains the age of the last Neanderthals of southern and western Iberia to some 37,000 years ago.

This new evidence puts the duration of the Iberian Neanderthal refugium at five millennia, and counters speculations that Neanderthal populations could have remained in the Gibraltar area until 28,000 years ago.

These findings have important implications for the understanding of the archaic features found in the anatomy of a 30,000-year-old child unearthed at Lagar Velho, Portugal.
This will be hard to square with Zafarraya as well. The stone tool assemblages from that site are clearly Mousterian with, as Jean-Jacques Hublin writes: "little or no Upper Palaeolithic influence." I also think that Erik Trinkaus' analysis of the Lagar Velho remains, is very close to the mark. I simply do not think that it is credible to view the remains as that of a "chunky Gravettian kid."

I wonder if this will revive the incredible dust-up that followed, regarding the analysis of the Lagar Velho remains. I challenge anyone out there to find Erik's original post. It seems to have vanished into the ether.

Now playing: Steve Hackett - Under The World ~ Orpheus Looks Back
via FoxyTunes

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