Neanderthal and Early Modern Human Culture Co-existed Alongside Older Traditions for Over 100,000 Years

Neanderthal Caveman Early Human Concept

The Acheulean, one of the earliest stone tool cultures, likely persisted for tens of thousands of years longer than previously believed.

Research from the University of Kent’s School of Anthropology and Conservation has discovered that one of the earliest stone tool cultures, known as the Acheulean, likely persisted for tens of thousands of years longer than previously thought.

The Acheulean was estimated to have died out around 200,000 years ago but the new findings suggest it may have persisted for much longer, creating over 100,000 years of overlap with more advanced technologies produced by Neanderthals and early modern humans.

The research team, led by Dr. Alastair Key (Kent) alongside Dr. David Roberts (Kent) and Dr. Ivan Jarić (Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences), made the discovery whilst studying stone tool records from different regions across the world. Using statistical techniques new to archaeological science, the archaeologists and conservation experts were able to reconstruct the end of the Acheulean period and re-map the archaeological record.

Acheulean Technology Around the World

Map indicating the distribution of Acheulean technology around the world. Credit: Dr. Alastair Key

Previously, a more rapid shift between the earlier Acheulean stone tool designs often associated with Homo heidelbergensis – the common ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals – and more advanced ‘Levallois’ technologies created by early modern humans and Neanderthals, was assumed. However, the study has shed new light on the transition between these two technologies, suggesting substantial overlap between the two.

Acheulean stone tool technologies are the longest-lived cultural tradition practiced by early humans. Originating in East Africa 1.75 million years ago, handaxes and cleavers – the stone tool types which characterize the period – went on to be used across Africa, Europe, and Asia by several different species of early human. Prior to this discovery, it was widely assumed that the Acheulean period ended between 300-150,000 years ago. However, the record was lacking in specific dates, and the timing of its demise has been heavily debated. The Kent and Czech team discovered that the tradition likely ended at different times around the world, varying from as early as 170,000 years ago in Sub-Saharan Africa through to as late as 57,000 years ago in Asia.

To understand when the Acheulean ended, the team collected information on different archaeological sites from around the world to find the latest known stone tool assemblages. A statistical technique known as optimal linear estimation – commonly used in conservation studies to estimate species extinctions – was used to predict how much longer the stone tool tradition continued after the most recent known sites. In effect, the technique was able to model the portion of the archaeological record yet to be discovered.

Dr. Key, a Palaeolithic Archaeologist and the lead author of the study, said: ‘The earliest archaeological record will always be an incomplete picture of early human behavior, so we know that the youngest known Acheulean sites are unlikely to actually represent the final instances of these technologies being produced. By allowing us to reconstruct these missing portions of the archaeological record, this technique not only gives us a more accurate understanding of when the tradition ended, but it gives us an indication of where we can expect to find new archaeological discoveries in the future.’

Dr. Roberts added: ‘This technique was originally developed by myself and a colleague to date extinctions, as the last sighting of a species is unlikely to be the date when it actually became extinct. It is exciting to see it applied in a new context.’

Their research paper ‘Modelling the end of the Acheulean at global and continental levels suggests widespread persistence into the Middle Palaeolithic’ is published by Humanities & Social Sciences Communications.

Reference: “Modelling the end of the Acheulean at global and continental levels suggests widespread persistence into the Middle Palaeolithic” by Alastair J. M. Key, Ivan Jarić and David L. Roberts, 2 March 2021, Humanities & Social Sciences Communications.
DOI: 10.1057/s41599-021-00735-8

22 Comments on "Neanderthal and Early Modern Human Culture Co-existed Alongside Older Traditions for Over 100,000 Years"

  1. Tsukasa Hiraganao | June 14, 2021 at 4:35 pm | Reply

    Why do you people still think this is true? It’s a load of crap. The Bible speaks of every aspect of life.
    Tell me where did life came from for evolution, don’t say God cause of your stupid worldview.

  2. Fascinating work done by the Kent team. Of course it makes sense that these groups lasted so long. They lived with much harsher predators than other humans.

  3. Sorry, this is a science article not a Sunday school class.

  4. I are the homosex. We are the legion. EVILution will be prevail. Onward to the 69. My booty warriors.

  5. Frank Von Queens | June 17, 2021 at 2:25 pm | Reply

    Factually speaking, the Solutreans who came to America before the Beringians are the true Native Americans. They co existed with the Archaic races such as Neandethal, Denisovans and others who were here for hundreds of thousands of years. How could the Beringians who supposedly came here 13K years ago have been first. There are TWO continents and no one before them came here? Tosh and piffle it’s non sense! Just like the fact that inquery into the Solutreans has been halted because of political suppression the keep the myth that the Beringians were here first. It smacks of Marxist politics taking over scientific inquiry!

  6. Many of the comments that people are writing in here are demonstrating that religion is a mental illness.

  7. Bible a book about weather and stories stolen from other cultures oh and let’s not speak of the millions of murdered people in the name of god

  8. Dr Patrick O'Sullivan | June 18, 2021 at 3:51 am | Reply

    Why do artists always show men and weapons when illustrating articles about Palaeolithic people? According to studies in the Kalahari by Richard Lee, over fifty years ago, such people probably obtained two thirds of their calorific intake from plant material collected by the women and children. Why not show this for a change? In a wider context, such illustrations usually show the men doingthe work, and the stupid women looking on holding the baby. No wonder we all have such a distorted view of what Stone Age people were actually like.

  9. Rashaud Wallace | June 18, 2021 at 6:13 am | Reply

    Why is it that we’ve never seen the full remains of these “ancient humans” and/or common ancestors”? They only exist in artistic renderings. Scientists found 6 or 7 bones of a dead gorilla and called it “Lucy”. That’s because there are no common ancestors or Neanderthals or whatever. It’s part of the evolutionary lie.

  10. The real deal | June 18, 2021 at 8:41 am | Reply

    I’m going to ask the religious types to put down their bleach and Hydroxychloroquine for a hot second. Look, I’m spiritual, no doubt, but there is no’god’ as put forward in the bible, which is made up anyway. The entire universe is mechanical, not in the literal sense, but it’s made up of a system with rules. If ‘god’ just poofed it into existence, it wouldn’t have the rules and structures it does. It would just ‘be’. Is more likely than anything that we’re the byproduct of something else. Some other process. A quick education can be found here: link IS safe for work.

  11. Actually the Bible and all religion could exist with each other I dont think humans just pop up one day.

  12. “Research from the University of Kent’s School of Anthropology and Conservation has discovered that one of the earliest stone tool cultures, known as the Acheulean, likely persisted for tens of thousands of years longer than previously thought.”

    … who knows what has been around, but we have no way to get that information…

  13. God created Adam and Eve, they had two sons. After Cain killed Abe he went out and took a wife. Where did she come from? Did God make more people then Adam and Eve?

  14. Galileo, Nicolas Copernicus, Gregor Mendel,Roger Bacon,Rene Descartes just to name a few Catholic scientists , just saying Faith and science can work together, first science is Theory , and tho some can be proven to a point its still a theory, Faith is Fact as long as humans have been faith has been their, no matter the god or tree or animal they worship , faith can heal as well just saying

  15. First native Americans were in the America’s at least 30,000 years ago not around 15,000 as previously thought according to stone tools found in a cave in South America. Not sure on Neanderthal or other early humans being here could of been though.

  16. The interesting thing, all jokes aside, is that humans have 46 chromosomes while the great apes species have 48 chromosomes. It is a good idea, not a battlefield for culture wars. Culture wars is to culture what pro wrestling is to entertainment. Not very. The Biblical narratives divergence is not bound to evolution but to DNA.Chimpanzees and humans share 99% of DNA but Chimpanzees have 48 chromosomes to develop a chimpanzee versus your mom and me having 46 chromosomes to develop a human being like you, your mom and me. Look it up. Humans would like more humility. Embrace the leper, the afflicted, the poor, the puzzled, the bewildered and rhe bewildered, the joker, the thief and the killer if you have it in you.

  17. Carres Kennedy | June 20, 2021 at 4:08 pm | Reply

    Why y’all lie about everything ? Esau edomites aka Jews aren’t even Shemitic ! Why is the oldest tree in the world 7 thousand years old !
    And the pre-flood trees ? 30-40 miles tall ! All over the world ! Why Esau hiddes anything The real I Am ( God) ?
    And the DNA of Christ discovered over 20 year’s ago , prove he was BORN Of A VIRGIN ! ! Not one time on the News ? Lol

  18. GaeaHypothesis | June 20, 2021 at 9:57 pm | Reply

    By the way, science is a method, not a theory per se. It is through the scientific method that theories (and hypotheses) are derived.

  19. Well I don’t know whether when one takes Communion whether it is literally the blood and body of Christ or whether it is just symbolic. I do know that during the Middle Ages the Christians tortured and burned each other at the stake over such questions. Sad state of affairs that in America we still have that mindset around wreaking havoc on our educational system and further putting us behind science friendly developed nations .

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