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Neanderthal All Change

11 March 2021

At https://phys.org/news/2021-03-shift-scientific-consensus-demise-neandert… … which is once again about Neanderthals dying out – an apparent mystery that no one has really solved as yet. It has, in the past, glibly been attributed to the appearance of modern humans, the assumption being that our immediate ancestors were a hell of a lot more intelligent than their predecessors. This is of course based on the evolutionary tree theory, that development  proceeds incrementally, getting more and more smarter as time goes by, an extraordinarily arrogant belief. Present day humans do not seem to be more able, or more intelligent than people living hundreds of years ago. Knowledge has increased – but that is in the hands of a few. How many people out there can do  jobs as efficiently as people did in the Victorian era – when manual labour was the normal way of life. People pressing buttons on a machine are nowhere near as clever as artisans in former days. However, this idea of evolutionary improvement, ever upwards, dominated the debate on Neanderthals.

The link article tells us this is no longer true. New findings have caused a substantial rethink – although no doubt there are a few dinosaurs out there. New finds have overwhelmed old ideas – once again. The fact that Neanderthals made tar from birch bark to glue spear heads to spear shafts, for example, or the possibility Neanderthals may have been responsible for some of the Spanish cave paintings, is another. These discoveries have brought a significant about face. However, they still have a dilemma – what then had caused the decline and disappearance of the Neanderthals. They seem to be thrashing around a bit here, trying to push back modern human origins and the possibility of shared traditions. The subject of catastrophism is carefully avoided. See Scientific Reports at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84410-7

At https://phys.org/news/2021-03-neanderthal-early-modern-human-stone.html … the Aechulian stone tool technology seems to have persisted for much longer than previously allowed. Another idea strongly associated with incremental evolutionary technology improvements. To get around this mainstream are pumping up the idea modern humans lived alongside Neanderthals. One might ask – come up with the evidence to prove it. Conclusively rather than theoretically. This all change idea came about as a result of the discovery that Neanderthals were adept in levellois tool technology – when this was previously thought to be a purely Palaeolithic development. This is said to show that Aechulian stone tools cohabited with levellois flake technology. Unsurprising we might think as stone tools were made by flaking. Using those flakes with a little bit of reworking would have led to the purposeful production of flakes, in their own right. One might see it as a small change in production but for years the two techniques were regarded as inventions of different stages of humanity. It was used to prop up the evolutionary function in tool production. One can see an evolutionary process in the development of humans, and even the fact that modern humans differ in many ways to Palaeolithic people, as we don't gnaw on great big lumps of gristly meat. It is cooked until it is tender and our teeth and mouths have changed as a result of that. Tool production is quite different. It has nothing to do with natural selection processes, but a question of innovation being accepted by peers.

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