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Updated: 23 hours 47 min ago

It turns out Neanderthals painted art inside these European caves, not humans

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 15:33

Ancient sketches of Ice Age animals, stenciled hands, and symbols painted on walls inside three Spanish caves were long suspected to have been left by humans. But with enhanced dating techniques, scientists now believe our thick-browed and extinct evolutionary cousins, Neanderthals, were truly responsible for the art.  This would mean that we've been giving our hominid ancestors too little credit for their abilities. Researchers found these paintings are at least around 65,000 years old, predating the arrival of humans in Europe by some 20,000 years. Assuming the dating is accurate, then these paintings would be the earliest known cave art in the world.  SEE ALSO: The accidental library: Why Elon Musk launched books to space that could last 14 billion years The research, published Thursday in the journal Science, concludes that in the absence of humans, Neanderthals must have created the advanced art, underscoring that these hominids were quite smart — perhaps even matching our own intelligence. "These papers simply confirm what has been evident in other aspects of the archeological record and their biologies, that there are no evident differences between the Neanderthals and modern humans in terms of basic cognition, symbolic behavior, sociality, or communication," said Erik Trinkaus, a biological anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis who was not involved in the study. Red ochre painting on a La Pasiega cave wall in Spain.Image: P. SauraIn another Spanish cave, detailed in a related study also released Thursday, researchers dated marine shells that had been dyed and then stored in larger shell containers. These artifacts were dyed some 70,0000 years before humans ever stepped foot in the region. Some scientists might disagree that it was Neanderthals who painted such humanistic, advanced art, said Wil Roebroeks, a paleolithic archaeologist at Leiden University who was not involved in the study, in an email. But the evidence in favor of Neanderthal artwork is strong.  A replicated drawing of some of the cave art. It's more difficult to see the symbols, animals, and detail on the calcified cave wall, shown in the image above.Image: Breuil et al.The cave painting "dates are solid," said Roebroeks. The researchers dated calcite minerals both below the paint and the calcite that had crusted on top to establish a window in time for when the painting likely was done. Roebroeks noted that the sample and dating work was done "carefully" by experienced archeologists.    "Neandertals made 'cave art' — deal with it," he said, using a spelling popular in the scientific literature. The Neanderthals used a red ochre paint on the cave walls, "an activity hitherto thought to be an exclusive 'modern human' phenomenon," noted Roebroeks. In fact, it seems that by the time humans finally arrived in Europe, "indigenous Neandertals had been producing red ochred motifs on cave walls for at least a thousand generations already," he said. This cave art might provide compelling evidence for Neanderthals' advanced intellect, but anthropologists already knew that Neanderthals were culturally advanced, even fashioning their own jewelry.  David Frayer, an anthropologist at the University of Kansas, suspects Neanderthals caught eagles and used their sharp talons to make this jewelry. The talons, discovered near a rock shelter in Croatia, had been smoothed out around 130,000 years ago, long before other Neanderthal clans painted the walls of Spanish caves.  Three hand stencil drawings in Maltravieso Cave. The hands can be seen in the top left, center (facing down), and center-right of the image.Image: H. ColladoEven having held and inspected these Eagle talons, Frayer, who had no role in either study, finds the cave art impressive. "Yet, even me as a Neanderthal appreciator, would not have predicted they could have done these," he said via email.  Of course, once humans arrived in Europe, they too began ornately painting cave walls. Lascaux Cave, in France, is covered in hundreds of detailed animals, including horses, deer, and bulls.  But before Neanderthals went extinct — for unknown reasons — they proved their artistic and cultural prowess was similar to ours, even though their skulls were flatter and shaped differently.   "This does not mean Neandertals were identical to modern humans, just behaviorally and mentally equivalent," said Trinkaus. "And it should put to rest the paleophrenoloigcal arguments about Neandertal abilities derived from their skulls."   WATCH: This beetle "farts" inside a toad's stomach to escape

Eni executive: drilling off Cyprus could be put on hold

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 13:48

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The head of Italian energy firm Eni said Thursday that planned drilling in search of gas off Cyprus could be put on hold until Turkey can be convinced to pull back its warships preventing a rig from reaching the site.

CNN Says It Didn't Ask Florida Shooting Survivor To Read A Scripted Question

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 13:46

CNN is denying reports that it asked a Florida school shooting survivor to read a “scripted” question during a town hall debate on gun violence that aired on the network Wednesday night.

NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre: FBI, Elitism To Blame For School Shootings

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 13:35

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday to defend his organization one week after a gunman used an assault-style rifle to kill 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Michael Dell Paid Record-Breaking Price For Manhattan’s One57 Penthouse

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 13:26

Cementing his status as one of the wealthiest people in the world, Dell reportedly paid $100.5 million for a 10,923-square-foot penthouse

Donald Trump Proposes Pay Bonus For Armed Teachers

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 13:17

President Donald Trump doubled down on his suggestion that arming teachers could help prevent school shootings on Thursday, adding that those trained to use firearms could receive extra pay.

White powder and 'racist' letter sent to Meghan Markle

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 12:48

A package containing white powder and an allegedly racist message sent to Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle is being treated as a hate crime, police said on Thursday. Officers from the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command were called in after the package was received on February 12 at a sorting office in St James's Palace in central London. Contacted by AFP, Prince Harry's press service at Kensington Palace declined to comment on the report.

Are Pickup Trucks Becoming the New Family Car?

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 12:43

Pickup truck sales are the hottest they’ve been in a decade, and it’s no wonder: Driving one is no longer a bumpy, jarring experience that you have to endure. Truck makers today are building pick...

Trump aides say U.S. forces can legally stay in Syria, Iraq indefinitely

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 12:41

President Trump has all the legal authority he needs to keep U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq indefinitely, the Pentagon and State Department told Sen. Tim Kaine, who has been pushing for a new AUMF.

Seriously Quick Tesla Semi Smokes its Tires

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 12:30

Now all we can think about is an 18-wheeler with Ludicrous Mode

'Walking Dead' Star Admits To That Eye-Opening Mistake

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 12:27

At this point in “The Walking Dead” timeline, longtime zombie hunter Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) could probably fire a weapon with his eyes closed, so the question is, uh, did he?

How to Maximize Your Savings Under the New Tax Law

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:40

After much anticipation, the Internal Revenue Service in December announced revisions to the U.S. tax law, including some major changes for those filing individually. After all, many people see their health care costs rise later in life.

NRA chief slams 'shameful politicization' of Florida tragedy

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:22

The head of America's National Rifle Association lashed out Thursday at critics of the powerful gun lobby, accusing them of exploiting last week's deadly school shooting in Florida for political advantage. In his first public comments since the Parkland shooting that left 17 dead, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre accused gun control advocates within the Democratic Party of seeking to roll back the constitutional right to bear arms. "They hate the NRA.

Autopsy confirms Virginia woman was mauled to death by her own pit bulls

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:42

An autopsy has confirmed that a Virginia woman believed to have been mauled to death by her own pit bulls in December did indeed die from "trauma due to mauling by animals."

New York University issues public apology for 'racially insensitive' meal served during Black History Month

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:40

New York University has issued a public apology and fired their director of food service after students pointed out the watermelon-flavoured water and collard greens the school was serving during Black History Month were racially insensitive. College of Arts and Science sophomore Nia Harris noticed the offensive meal when she walked into Weinstein Passport Dining Hall - before alerting the deans of the school and NYU’s President Hamilton of the insensitive and “stereotypical” meal. “Not only was this racially insensitive, this was just ignorant.

Parkland Student Says Arming Teachers With Guns Is A 'Terrible Idea'

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:10

Alfonso Calderon is not here for President Donald Trump’s idea to arm teachers with guns.

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:07

Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party accused the government of "spreading misinformation" about no civilian deaths in its latest Syrian offensive on Thursday, calling on Ankara to halt the operation. Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said earlier Thursday that no civilian had been killed -- or suffered so much as "a nose bleed" -- in Turkey's air and ground campaign in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.

Trump: Arm some teachers to 'fire back if a savage sicko came to a school'

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 09:01

President Trump denied that he wants to arm teachers with guns, despite seeming to offer that suggestion during a “listening session” about school shootings the day before.

Marco Rubio jeered at CNN town hall on school shootings

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 08:20

Sen. Marco Rubio endorsed additional gun control legislation after questions from survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla.