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Science news roundup on human origins: White Sands footprints, Neanderthal hunting, Heidelberg man houses

Multiple new items on Homo Sapiens in the news, some directly or indirectly via Carl Zimmer.

First, we have more confirmation for those Human footprints at White Sands National Park and their age. They do appear to date to 21-23,000 years before present. This is a final nail in the coffin of the already dead Clovis theory of humans in the "new world." Of sidebar interest? It may just be a hole in the rock next to a footprint, or maybe, one footprint demonstrates polydactyly.

I just don't get the push-back scientists. This all seems pretty solid now, and there's plenty of other evidence in both North and South America that goes back at least 5,000 years before Clovis. Clovis is dead. Be open-minded about the growing accumulation of pre-Clovis evidence.

At least to my mind, I can't figure out anything besides, if not a full Clovis, a "Clovis-lite" or whatever, that is driving the continuing, but lingering, animus toward the White Sands footprints.

Frankly, an older "entrada" also allows for multiple entradas. We have the post-Clovis-theory traditional American Indian one, pushed back, then the later Na-Dene one, then the later yet Inuit-Aleut one. If the original entrada is set 25K years before present, that allows room for multiple "American Indian" entradas. We have evidence for that with Homo sapiens' attempts to enter Europe, after all.

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The newest evidence that Neanderthals were more like Homo sapiens than once thought? Their hunting skill, refuting earlier ideas:

An academic paper published on Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports proposes that our long-extinct ancestors not only were the first humans to kill and butcher large predators, but that they also used the hides for cultural purposes and perhaps even dressed in them.

Interesting.

Neanderthals are now thought to have been more sophisticated and multitalented than imagined. Evidence is mounting that they used a complex language and even, considering the ritual interment of their dead, some form of spirituality. They made sticky pitch to secure their spear points by heating birch bark; stalked bison, wild cattle and straight-tusked elephants, and ambushed hibernating cave bears as the animals woke from their annual slumber.

And, per the new story, add cave lions to the hunting targets.

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Heidelberg Man or similar ancestor was creating wood structures nearly 500,000 years ago.



This post first appeared on SocraticGadfly, please read the originial post: here

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Science news roundup on human origins: White Sands footprints, Neanderthal hunting, Heidelberg man houses

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