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J Hum Evol. 2012 Dec;63(6):781-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2012.08.006. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Modeling Neanderthal clothing using ethnographic analogues.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, CT 06269-2176, USA. nathan.wales@uconn.edu

Abstract

Although direct evidence for Neanderthal clothing is essentially nonexistent, information about Paleolithic clothing could provide insights into the biological, technological, and behavioral capabilities of Neanderthals. This paper takes a new approach to understanding Neanderthal clothing through the collection and analysis of clothing data for 245 recent hunter-gatherer groups. These data are tested against environmental factors to infer what clothing humans tend to wear under different conditions. Beta regression is used to predict the proportion of the body covered by clothing according to a location's mean temperature of the coldest month, average wind speed, and annual rainfall. In addition, logistic regression equations predict clothing use on specific parts of the body. Neanderthal clothing patterns are modeled across Europe and over a range of Pleistocene environmental conditions, thereby providing a new appreciation of Paleolithic behavioral variability. After accounting for higher tolerances to cold temperatures, it is predicted that some Neanderthals would have covered up to 80% of their bodies during the winter, probably with non-tailored clothing. It is also likely that some populations covered the hands and feet. In comparison with Neanderthals, Upper Paleolithic modern humans are found to have worn more sophisticated clothing. Importantly, these predictions shed new light on the relationship between Neanderthal extinction and their simple clothing.

PMID:
23084621
DOI:
10.1016/j.jhevol.2012.08.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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