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.
Neanderthals are known in history of mankind for cave painting, tool wielding and fire conquering skills. But then these guys seemed to have added more skills into their CV. According to recent archaeological discovery Neanderthals might have been behind the complex subterranean structures. 50 km from the city of Toulouse in France, researchers found a deep dark cave and inside they discovered six historical structures that have been crafted stalagmites. These structures make us think ore since the structures are beyond what these ancient creatures had been assumed to be capable of. These creatures were indeed complex, creative and inventive.
According Jacques Jaubert from France’s Bordeaux University these creatures were not brutes that were only focused on chipping away at a flint. The structures are ring shaped and are found 300 meters inside the Biunique cave in the Southwest of France. They are thought to have stood almost 7 meters wide. The cave has twisted corridors that are pitch black and are far from the entrance. This means the Neanderthals used fire in facilitating these constructions.
The team that was led by Jaubert was able to discover bout 400 pillars of stalagmite that weight close to 2000 kg and stretch over 112.4 meters. This simply means the Neanderthals were able to appreciate teamwork and hence be able to construct these complex structures. The puzzling fact is the ability of the creatures to explore very dark caves away from the natural light. This shows the capabilities of Neanderthals to enter the hostile underground environment, navigate using light from the fire and hence survive. This was dated back between 174400 to 178600 years ago. These structures seemed to have been constructed tens of thousands of years ago, before the first Homo sapiens arrived in Europe. It’s still uncertain why the creatures teamed up in the construction of these structures. Obvious reasons being that the structures might have served religious or ceremonial purposes.
The structures seem to have a lot of mystery surrounding it. More research needs to be carried in order to try and get all the facts right about the structures.
According to Jean-Jacques Hublin, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany who was not involved in the study, told Ewen Callaway from Nature. The main question in every one’s mind is why the creatures made those complex structures. People will come up with all sorts of theories, but proving them is the major challenge. Others even find it hard to believe he structures are man-made. Marie Soressi, an archaeologist at the Leiden University in the Netherlands notes that these structures are among the best historically preserved constructions of mankind in the whole of the Pleistocene Epoch. This is because the structures were sealed by calcite immediately they were erected. This shows how historical study is so dependent on preservations.