In France, explorers found structures built from stalagmites inside a cave. The constructions are believed to be 176,000 years old. They may have been the work of Neanderthals.
Even though Neanderthals are related to humans, they were not known to be this advanced. Finding they explored caves and were even interested in construction is something very new to scientists.
Up to this moment, the purpose of these assemblies remains unknown.
The discovery of the Bruniquel Cave happened in 1990 when the entrance of the cave was discovered by spelunkers. The entry corridor seemed to have been obstructed for thousands of years. The first person to explore it was a French archeologist who went as far as 1,000 feet deep.
The archeologist also found two ovals made from broken stalagmites, but he later died before finding an explanation to them.
Three years ago, a team of scientists ventured again into the depths of the cave. When they reached the constructions, they were amazed.
The pieces of stalagmites are arranged into walls as high as 16 inches. And inside these walls, there are other fragments set into piles.
The stones have been dated to be 176,000 years old. This is much farther in time than the arrival of modern humans in Europe, which is set 45,000 years ago.
Scientists believe this to be the most elaborate structure built by Neanderthals. As to the purpose of this construction, archaeologists can only guess.
There may be that they were included in a ritual, as all the pieces showed signs they had been burned. Or this may be just a fireplace, built to keep them warm and protect them from bears.
Another surprising fact is that the construction is placed 1,000 feet away from the entrance. Experts say Neanderthals were not usually exploring that far. Even if they used caves to find shelter, they did not go that far from natural light.
On the same area, explorers found even a sort of torches – animal bones that had fat inside and were burned on one end.
Scientists now are convinced that Neanderthals are not as different from humans as they initially thought. Our distant relatives may have been closer to our species. Researchers show that Neanderthals apparently had cognitive abilities, culture, and creativity, resembling our ancestors.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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