​​Neanderthals built complex underground structures 176,000 years ago – and no one knows why

Turns out we know a whole lot less about Neanderthals than we thought, because our cave-painting, tool-wielding, fire-conquering cousins were sophisticated enough to build complex subterranean structures as far back as 176,500 years ago, according to new archaeological evidence.

Deep inside a dark, underground cave 50 km from the city of Toulouse, France, researchers have uncovered the remains of six ancient structures crafted from stalagmites. The find forces us to rethink our assumptions about these archaic humans, because what they appear to have built is far beyond anything we thought they were capable of.

“Neanderthals were inventive, creative, subtle and complex,” one of the team, Jacques Jaubert from France’s Bordeaux University, told AFP. “They were not mere brutes focused on chipping away at flint tools or killing bison for food.”

The ring-shaped structures were found 300 metres deep inside Bruniquel Cave in southwest France, and one is thought to have stood almost 7 metres wide. The twisted corridors of this cave are pitch black this far from the entrance, so the Neanderthals would have had to construct everything by firelight. Source: Neanderthals built complex underground structures

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One Response to ​​Neanderthals built complex underground structures 176,000 years ago – and no one knows why

  1. alfy says:

    The Neanderthalers were building a bus terminus. They were sorry for H. sapiens stuck in East Africa, just waiting for something to happen, so they crafted a bus service to bring them finally to Europe. It is clear the Neanderthalers were flexible about using reindeer, oxen, or Przewalski horses on their services, depending on local conditions. Toulouse was chosen for the terminus because it would give H. sapiens immediate access to the artwork of caves.
    The hunt is now on to find the African end of the bus service, which may be in the Levant (eastern Mediterranean) or even on the North African coast, because there was dry land all the way to France. The camels of the bus service were steadfast and reliable.
    Objects of bone were used as bus tickets, and artefacts like the Ishango bone reveal the price of the fare, the destination, and some advertising, particularly for visits to the Lascaux caves.

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