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The Neanderthals

Relatively recent archeological finds have brought about a considerable change in perception about the Neanderthals. Neanderthals had previously been characterized more as primitive grunting beasts than as intelligent and compassionate human ancestors. However, evidence suggests that they may have exhibited more learned skills and social compassion than had previously been thought. !► Ü3 The Neanderthals lived during a period that extended from at least 40,000 to 100,000 years ago in a variety of environments ranging from relatively warm and dry' to extremely cold areas. H I The Neanderthals differed from modern man in that they had a stronger and heavier skeleton and faciai structure with a more projecting brow, a broader nose, and larger teeth. B l Casts made of Neanderthal brains by archeologists show little difference in size from those of modern man. f f jj !► it has been known for some time that Neanderthals were rather skilled stone artisans. They are best known for their production of stone tools, which included a large number of scrapers and pointed implements. The techniques that the Neanderthals used to prepare these tools demonstrated a clear and important technological advance over their predecessors. Edges of their stone tools have been studied under microscopes for evidence of how the tools may have been used. Many of the tools seem to have been used for working with wood, both for hacking at large branches and for doing more detailed work on smaller pieces; other tools were clearly used to prepare food, both meat and vegetables; still others, which resemble many of today’s suede and leather tools, were used to work with animal skins. A clearer picture of Neanderthals has come about recently as archeologists have determined that, in addition to the known ability to develop and employ tools in a rather skilled way, Neanderthals also exhibited evidence of beliefs and social rituals, aspects of life that were newly introduced by Neanderthals and that provide evidence of humanlike thoughts and feelings. Neanderthal cemeteries have been discovered in places like La Ferrassie in France and Shanidar in Iraq; Neanderthal remains in these cemeteries have provided proof of social organization and ritual in the Neanderthals. One skeleton of a Neanderthal was found with a crushed skull; the blow on the top of the head, perhaps from a falling boulder, had quite obviously been the cause of death. What was interesting was that study of the skeleton showed that while he had been alive this man had been seriously handicapped with a defect that had limited use of the upper right side of his body, that he suffered from arthritis, and that he was blind in one eye. The fact that he had survived well into old age was a strong indication that others had been helping to care for him and to provide him with food rather than allowing him to die because he was no longer fit. Other skeletal remains of Neanderthals show clear examples of burial rituals. Another skeleton of a grown male was found surrounded by pollen from eight different flowers, including ancestors of today’s hyacinth, bachelor's button, and hollyhock; experts are convinced that the flowers could not have been growing in the cave where they were found and that they had been arranged around the body in a burial ritual. In a different Neanderthal cemetery, a young child was found buried with a deposit of ibex horns laid out with the body. These discoveries about Neanderthals help to create a picture of Neanderthals as beings with the feelings and emotions that go along with developed social customs and rituals.

470

COMPLETE TEST 2: Reading 2


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COMPLETE TEST 2: Reading 3


Reading Toefl 2