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Literature Review – Use of Tools by Neandertals
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ANTH151 Literature review – Use of tools by NeandertalsTarget Article: Soressi, M., McPherron, S., Lenoir, M., Dogandzic, T., Goldberg, P., & Jacobs, Z. et al. (2013). Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, 110(35), 14186-14190. doi:10.1073/pnas.1302730110This article outlines the first use of specialized bone tools in Europe by the Neandertals. This study was conducted in order to compare Neandertal behaviour with modern humans regarding the use of tools, ornaments and blades, and to discuss whether the use of these tools was developed before or as a result of contact with modern humans. Researchers used the identification of a specialized bone tool, lissoir, that was previously only related to modern humans to argue that Neandertals developed specialized bone tools before modern humans as these finds predate the oldest known age for the use of similar objects in Europe by anatomically modern humans (Soressi et al., 2013). Furthermore, the research could provide evidence for cultural diffusion from Neandertals to modern humans. Related Articles:Verna, C., & d’Errico, F. (2011). The earliest evidence for the use of human bone as a tool. Journal Of Human Evolution, 60(2), 145-157. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2010.07.027This articles outlines a study conducted at the La Quina site in France. The researchers discovered 3 skull fragments and utilised macroscopic and microscopic analyses, including SEM observation, to demonstrate the changes on one of the fragments to show similarities with bone fragments used experimentally to examine and retouch flakes (Verna & d’Errico, 2011). The other 2 skull fragments, which are likely to be from the same individual, also show anthropogenic surface modifications (Verna & d’Errico, 2011) in the form of scraping marks and cuts. It is likely that these fragments were utilised as the first use of human bones as a tool by Neandertals rather than the earliest modern humans as evidence through the dimensions and traces of utilization suggest that the skull fragments represents the earliest known use of a human bone as a tool and raw material.

Rodríguez-Vidal, J., d’Errico, F., Pacheco, F., Blasco, R., Rosell, J., & Jennings, R. et al. (2014). A rock engraving made by Neanderthals in Gibraltar. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, 111(37), 13301-13306. doi:10.1073/pnas.1411529111This study outlines a rock engraving on cave walls by Neandertals in Gorham’s cave in Gibraltar. It carries heavy significance as it represents a large step in human evolution as it demonstrates a major advancement in human cognitive function. Furthermore, the study shows how Neandertals utilised their tools with not just hunting, cooking and other survival reasons but also to paint and draw on cave walls which shows early cognitive function and evolution. The engraving contains deeply impressed cross-hatching (Rodríguez-Vidal et al., 2014) carved into the bedrock that remains in the cave and has an age older than 39 cal kyr BP(Rodríguez-Vidal et al., 2014). This study is significant as it demonstrates Neandertal’s use of tools to express their thoughts in Geometric forms which is a major step in cognitive evolution that was thought to be exclusive to modern humans.Douka, K., & Spinapolice, E. (2012). Neanderthal Shell Tool Production: Evidence from Middle Palaeolithic Italy and Greece. Journal Of World Prehistory, 25(2), 45-79. doi:10.1007/s10963-012-9056-zThis article outlines the shell tool production and functional roles in Greece and Italy by the Neandertals. Researchers discovered more than 300 specimens that show evidence of deliberate edge retouch and are estimated to be from the time period 100 ka BP to 50 ka BP. Researchers examined the typological, chronological, species-related and general provisioning data pertinent to the use and production of shell tools by the Neandertals. This study is significant as it demonstrated Neandertals use of raw materials like shells other than human bone and other specialized bone tools which further shows how similar Neandertals were with modern humans. Daujeard, C., Moncel, M., Fiore, I., Tagliacozzo, A., Bindon, P., & Raynal, J. (2014). Middle Paleolithic bone retouchers in Southeastern France: Variability and functionality. Quaternary International, 326-327, 492-518. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.12.022This article outlines bone retouchers in the middle paleolithic period in nine middle paleolithic sites near the French Massif Central in southeastern France. Researchers utilised data on biostratigraphy and chronology on the archaeological sequences (Daujeard et al., 2014) to represent a use comparative regional analysis. Furthermore, the study raises questions on the role and function or shell tools in the retouching and shaping of the bone and stone tool production process by Neandertals. This is due to a large disparity between the number of present lithic products and the large abundance of bone retouchers. This study allows individuals to assess the role of shell tools in the retouching of stone and bone tools in the Neandertal world.

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