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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21545. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021545. Epub 2011 Jun 29.

The reality of Neandertal symbolic behavior at the Grotte du Renne, Arcy-sur-Cure, France.

Author information

1
Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique Bordeaux Sud-Ouest, Institut de Mathématiques de Bordeaux, Université de Bordeaux, Talence, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The question of whether symbolically mediated behavior is exclusive to modern humans or shared with anatomically archaic populations such as the Neandertals is hotly debated. At the Grotte du Renne, Arcy-sur-Cure, France, the Châtelperronian levels contain Neandertal remains and large numbers of personal ornaments, decorated bone tools and colorants, but it has been suggested that this association reflects intrusion of the symbolic artifacts from the overlying Protoaurignacian and/or of the Neandertal remains from the underlying Mousterian.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We tested these hypotheses against the horizontal and vertical distributions of the various categories of diagnostic finds and statistically assessed the probability that the Châtelperronian levels are of mixed composition. Our results reject that the associations result from large or small scale, localized or generalized post-depositional displacement, and they imply that incomplete sample decontamination is the parsimonious explanation for the stratigraphic anomalies seen in the radiocarbon dating of the sequence.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

The symbolic artifacts in the Châtelperronian of the Grotte du Renne are indeed Neandertal material culture.

PMID:
21738702
PMCID:
PMC3126825
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0021545
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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