Russia identified as Neanderthals’ last refuge

Washington, May 13: According to a new study, a prehistoric tool kit and butchered bones unearthed in Russia’s Ural mountains suggest that Neanderthals may have existed there, till as recently as 33,000 years ago.

Contrary to popular belief that modern ‘humans’ began to replace Neanderthals starting around 75,000 to 50,000 years ago, the study marks the Urals as their last refuge around 33,000 years ago, reports Discovery News.

Anthropologists have denied the possibility that anatomically modern humans may have crafted these hefty tools using the Mousterian technology associated with Neanderthals.

"We consider it overwhelmingly probable that the Mousterian technology we describe was performed by Neanderthals, and thus that they indeed survived longer than most other scientists believe," said Jan Mangerud, professor emeritus in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bergen.

The tools attributed to the Neanderthal's Mousterian style were mostly flakes, which the scientists recreated by banging a hard hammer on select stones.

It's likely that the original creators of the tools used a similar manufacturing method.

Anthropologist believe that the preserved flakes could have been used to make two-sided scrapers, perhaps for hunting, removing meat from bones or working with animal hides.

On the other hand, modern human tool-crafting methods associated with the Upper Paleolithic (between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago), were generally focused on the production of blade or bladelet technologies.

Erik Trinkaus, professor of physical anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis thinks the Neanderthal-attributed tools from Russia are "very interesting in terms of people being that far north during the Middle Paleolithic."
Copyright Asian News International/