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Paleoecological and archaeological evidence
Human history rewritten by ancient engravings
Stephen Munro from the Australian National University was studying a collection of fossilised bones of Homo erectus and mussel shells held by a museum in the Netherlands and collected from Java in the late 19th century. Closer examination of his photographs revealed man-made engravings on the mussel shells. The engravings have been dated at between 430,000 and 540,000 years old. The previous oldest-known engravings were around 100,000 years old. It is unclear whether the pattern was intended as art, or served some other purpose. It is the first evidence of Homo erectus behaving in this way. The shells had been opened by drilling a hole through the shell, likely with a shark’s tooth, exactly at the point where the muscle is attached to the shell. This allows the shell to be opened, and the contents to be eaten. This discovery marks a significant element in the story of human evolution.
Munro said the discovery points to the theory that early humans lived by the sea and ate shellfish rather living on grasslands and hunting game.
The teeth could have washed up on a river shore, or on a nearby sea coast."The good thing about these aquatic resources (shellfish) is that they are
Stephen Munro, a curator at the National Museum of Australia and a researcher at Australian National University, told Discovery News that the
"The generally accepted view is this type of pattern, this geometric engraving, is about 130,000 years or so ago. The minimum date we've got with this shell is 430,000 years."
But the significance of the shell engraving stretches beyond just age. The location of the of find, Indonesia, is outside the traditional Homo erectus stomping grounds of Africa and Europe, and puts the humble shell at the centre of research.
"It's a shell rather than a bone or a piece of stone. You dont often read about shells," Dr Munro said. "People don't think of shells as being a natural food resource. They think of Homo erectus as running after antelope on the open plains."This is really an idea that's grounded in the past, and has no real relevance to what Homo erectus was actually doing, which was probably foraging primarily around water and getting food, not only from the land, but from the water, including shells like this."
Dr Stephen Munro explains the significance of the discovery.
Ancient Human Footprints Along Ileret, Kenya Lakeside
In the late 2000s, 22 footprints were found near Ileret, Kenya. These prints are beleive to be 1.5 million years old. The study documenting this find  focused on the anatomy of these footprints; Homo erectus who ambulated much like modern humans. Neil Roach , from the AMNH, returned to Ileret and have found more footprints — about 100. The findings were presented  at this week’s annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society in San Francisco. These prints represent multiple individuals walking in one direction along a lakeside, possibly hunting for antelope or wildebeest.
Curtis Marean , from ASU, questions this presumption,
First Neanderthal cave paintings discovered in Spain
Cave paintings in Malaga, Spain, could be the oldest yet found – and the first to have been created by Neanderthals.
Looking oddly akin to the DNA double helix, the images in fact depict the seals that the locals would have eaten, says José Luis Sanchidrián at the University of Cordoba, Spain. They have “no parallel in Palaeolithic art”, he adds. His team say that charcoal remains found beside six of the paintings – preserved in Spain’s Nerja caves – have been radiocarbon dated to between 43,500 and 42,300 years old.
That suggests the paintings may be substantially older than the 30,000-year-old Chauvet cave paintings in south-east France, thought to be the earliest example of Palaeolithic cave art.
The next step is to date the paint pigments. If they are confirmed as being of similar age, this raises the real possibility that the paintings were the handiwork of Neanderthals – an “academic bombshell”, says Sanchidrián, because all other cave paintings are thought to have been produced by modern humans.
Neanderthals are in the frame for the paintings since they are thought to have remained in the south and west of the Iberian peninsula until approximately 37,000 years ago – 5000 years after they had been replaced or assimilated by modern humans elsewhere in their European heartland.
Until recently, Neanderthals were thought to have been incapable of creating artistic works. That picture is changing thanks to the discovery of a number of decorated stone and shell objects – although no permanent cave art has previously been attributed to our extinct cousins. 
Cosquer's parietal art consists of 177 engraved and painted animal figures belonging to 11 different species. It features horses (63), bison and aurochs (24), ibex (28), red deer (15), chamois (4), megaloceros deer (2), saiga antelope (1), and felines (1), as well as a number of highly unusual images of marine life, such as seals (9), fish (4), auks (3), jellyfish, penguins and squid. A further 20 animal figures are unclear and 3 are combinations of different creatures. In addition, there is one anthropomorphic figure of a human figure with a seal's head. The majority of the animals are depicted in the form of rock engravings, with less than a third actually painted. Although quite a few drawings of fish have been found in different caves, the Cosquer images of seals are extremely rare in Stone Age art, the only other known examples being in La Pileta Cave and Nerja Cave in Andalusia, Spain. 
Newly Unearthed Painted Shells Show Neandertals Were Homo sapiens's Mental Equals
Newly discovered painted scallops and cockleshells in Spain are the first hard evidence that Neandertals made jewelry. These findings suggest humanity's closest extinct relatives might have been capable of symbolism, after all.
At the Cueva (Cave) Antón, the scientists unearthed a pierced king scallop shell (Pecten maximus) painted with orange pigment made of yellow goethite and red hematite collected some five kilometers from that site. In material collected from the Cueva de los Aviones, alongside quartz and flint artifacts were bones from horses, deer, ibex, rabbits and tortoises as well as seashells from edible cockles (Glycymeris insubrica), mussels, limpets and snails; the researchers also discovered two pierced dog-cockleshells painted with traces of red hematite pigment. No dyes were found on the food shells or stone tools, suggesting the jewelry was not just painted at random.
In addition, Zilhão and his colleagues saw an orange pigment–coated horse bone at Aviones that might have served as a pin to prepare or apply mineral dyes or to pierce painted hides as well as three thorny oyster (Spondylus gaederopus) shells that might have served as paint cups, holding as they did residues of hematite, charcoal, dolomite and pyrite. The researchers also came across lumps of red and yellow pigments there that had to have come from afield, such as the area of La Unión three to five kilometers to the northwest, which has served as a gold and silver mining district since antiquity.
African Coastal Environments Provide the First Concrete Evidence for Modern Human Behaviour
Perhaps the most stunning revelation in our story thus far is the fairly recent body of evidence concluding that the earliest evidence for human symbolic behavior – the hallmark of modernity – comes from archaeological investigations of African middle Stone Age humans. These sites are precisely the same African coastal caves filled with shell middens, fish bones, and the remains of marine birds and mammals, including cormorants, Cape penguins, fur seals and whales (Die Kelders, Klasies River, Blombos, Pinnacle Point, Ysterfontein). Associated with these assemblages are some of the oldest modern human fossils, recovered from Klasies River Mouth, Border Cave, Fish Hoek and Boskop. ... Not to be overlooked are the precocious bone harpoon and fish remains in the Katanda lakeshore locality dating to 100 ka .
Remarkably, the oldest known example of personal ornamentation – a symbolic behavior that we share with no other known species – consists of marine mollusc shells either drilled or carefully selected to be strung as a necklace. Some shells also have evidence for coloration with ochre. Shell necklaces are found at Blombos Cave , Grotte des Pigeons, Morrocco , Qafzeh and Skhul, Israel and at other locations in Morrocco and Algeria . The oldest occurrence (Grotte des Pigeons) dates to 82 ka. Clearly these shells held some value and humans either visited the shoreline or traded with others who had.
Unfortunately, coastal cave sites more than 125 ka are exceedingly rare due to erosion and past sea level changes associated with continental glaciation. Therefore, the occurrence at around this time in the archaeological record of a number of coastal sites and associated middens should not necessarily be taken as evidence that coastal habitation only began at this time. Indeed, discoveries at Pinnacle Point, Mojokerto, Dungo V and Pakefield indicate that despite the unfavorable odds of discovering ancient coastal habitation sites, they nevertheless do exist and indicate that at least Homo sapiens has a long history of exploiting such habitats. We can expect more archaeological data in the near future, and this will enable us to paint a more complete picture of how modern human behavior arose and dominated.
C. Leigh Broadhurst1,*, Michael Crawford2 and Stephen Munro3
Findings indicate existence of Neanderthals on Greek island of Naxos
Posted by TANN Anthropology, ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Early Humans, Greece 10:30 PM
For more information visit The Stélida Naxos Archaeological Project's Website. Source: NewsBomb [May 21, 2015]
Late Paleolithic fishers at Santa Catalina cave (Lekeitio N. Iberian Peninsula)
julio 13, 2015 por jorios76
|Website: F. Mansfield, 2015|
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