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Ancient Mariners: Did Neanderthals Sail to Mediterranean?


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« on: November 18, 2012, 08:57:20 am »

 Dating artifacts

The problem with these ancient finds is determining their exact age. "They're well beyond the range of radiocarbon dating," Simmons said. Although researchers can also deduce the ages of artifacts based on the ages of surrounding materials, these artifacts weren't found in reliable contexts that could indisputably attest to their age, he added.

Although the idea that extinct human lineages possessed such advanced mental capabilities might be controversial, ancient seafaring has been seen elsewhere in the world. For instance, Australia was colonized at least 50,000 years ago, while fossils in Indonesia suggest that an extinct lineage of humans was seafaring as long ago as 1.1 million years.

"If the ancient finds in the Mediterranean can be verified, they will show that Homo erectus or Neanderthals or both had the skills and cognitive ability to build boats and navigate them," Simmons said.

Simmons detailed this research in the Nov. 16 issue of the journal Science.

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