lunes, 24 de septiembre de 2012

In Prehistoric Britain Cannibalism Was Practical and Ritualistic

Mealtime in Gough s cave in Somerset, England, 14,700 years ago, was not for the faint of heart. Humans were on the menu, for consumption by their own kind. Anthropologists have long studied evidence for cannibalism in the human fossil record, but establishing that it occurred and ascertaining why people ate each other have proved difficult tasks. A new analysis provides fresh insights into the human defleshing that occurred at this site and what motivated it and hints that cannibalism may have been more common in prehistory than previously thought.

A Neanderthal trove in Madrid

The Lozoya River Valley could help clear up mysteries surrounding extinct species

The Lozoya River Valley, in the Madrid mountain range of Guadarrama, could easily be called "Neanderthal Valley," says the paleontologist Juan Luis Arsuaga.

"It is protected by two strings of mountains, it is rich in fauna, it is a privileged spot from an environmental viewpoint, and it is ideal for the Neanderthal, given that it provided the with good hunting grounds."

This is not just a hypothesis: scientists working on site in Pinilla del Valle, near the reservoir, have already found nine Neanderthal teeth, remains of bonfires and thousands of animal fossils, including some from enormous aurochs (the ancestor of cattle, each the length of two bulls), rhinoceros and fallow deer.

The Neanderthal is a human species that is well known and unknown at the same time. It is well known because numerous vestiges have been found from the time when they lived in Europe, between 200,000 and 30,000 years ago. But it is also unknown because of the many unresolved issues that keep cropping up, including, first and foremost: why did they become extinct just as our current species made an appearance on the continent?

Nobody knows for sure whether the Neanderthal was able to talk, or whether they shared territory with Homo sapiens, or whether both species ignored each other until one - ours - proliferated while the other got lost forever... Scientists in charge of the sites at Pinilla del Valle could make significant contributions to finding the answers to these and other questions about the lives of the Neanderthal people.

"There are around 15 sites in Spain: in the Cantabrian mountain range, along the eastern Mediterranean coast and in Andalusia, but none on the plateau, where there are no limestone formations and no adequate caves to preserve human remains for thousands of years," adds Arsuaga. But Pinilla del Valle is an exception to the rule. "There is limestone here. It was like a cap made of stone under which the Neanderthal presumably took refuge to prepare for the hunt, to craft their tools, to eat... It's not that they lived inside in the sense of a home; they wandered in the fields, and this was probably more like a base camp to take refuge when they needed to." [...]

Evolution : L'histoire de l'homme

Livre: Evolution : L'histoire de l'homme
Alice-M Roberts (Auteur), Denis-Armand Canal (Traduction)
Broché: 255 pages
Editeur : Delachaux et Niestlé (6 septembre 2012) 

"L'évolution se développe de façon imprévisible et surprenante. Il est à la fois humiliant et merveilleux de comprendre que l'apparition de notre espèce sur la Terre n'avait rien d'obligatoire ni d'inéluctable. Les plus grandes réalisations de nos civilisations dépendent aussi du hasard". Alice Roberts. Un guide visuel unique et documenté sur l'histoire de l'Homme, qui nous confronte à nos plus lointains ancêtres, grâce aux stupéfiants portraits modélisés des frères Kennis...

Cave Art, Perception and Knowledge

Book: Cave Art, Perception and Knowledge
Mats Rosengren (Author)
Hardcover: 192 pages Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan (November 27, 2012)

In the late 19th century in northern Spain and southern France prehistoric mural paintings and engravings were discovered. Cave Art, Perception and Knowledge inquires into epistemic questions related to images, depicting and perception that this rich and much debated material has given rise to. Focusing respectively on the historical and scientific circumstances and controversies and on the epistemic and perceptual problems and questions the discovery of these paintings and engravings gave rise to, the book traces the outline of the doxa of cave art studies. It criticizes the different ways of trying to make sense of the cave art. Furthermore it suggests, with the help of both Cornelius Castoriadis's concept of technique and Ernst Cassirer's notion of symbolic form, a yet untried way out of the hermeneutical impasse where the interpretation of the paleolithic pictures finds itself today.