Neanderthals did not sew enough warm clothes to survive Ice Age: ExpertDecember 21st, 2007 - 5:25 pm ICT by admin
Melbourne, Dec.21 (ANI): Unlike modern humans, Neanderthals may not have been able to sew warm enough clothes to see them through the Ice Age.
Neanderthals probably froze to death in the last Ice Age because rapid climate change caught them by surprise without the tools needed to make warm clothes, says an Australian researcher.
Ian Gilligan, a post-graduate researcher from the Australian National University believes that by the time Neanderthals developed sewing tools it was too little too late.
Neanderthals began to die out just before the last glacial maximum, 35 to 30,000 years ago and were replaced by modern humans, say archaeologists.
Previous studies have argued that one of the key reasons for this is that modern humans had better hunting tools, providing them with the extra food they needed to survive the cold.
Gilligan disagrees that the development of hunting tools was so important to modern humans’ survival over the Neanderthals.
For a start, he says, Neanderthals were already successful hunters, surviving in Europe and Eurasia for over 100,000 years.
He says most of the tools supposed to have given modern humans the edge over Neanderthals were actually more useful for making warm clothes.
The important tools developed by modern humans included stone blades, bone points, and later needles, which could cut and pierce hides to sew them together into multi-layered clothes including underwear, says Gilligan.
“They’re not related to hunting, they’re related to clothing,” he says. “These tools are related to tailored, fitted clothing, what I call complex clothing.”
He says modern humans were more vulnerable to the cold than Neanderthals and developed these tools as far back as 90,000 years ago to cope with cooler parts of Africa, before the peak of the Ice Age.
Gilligan says climatic evidence shows in the lead up to the glacial maximum there was unusually sudden and massive swings in global temperatures over short periods of time.
Over brief periods, the average temperature would plunge by more than 10oC and then warm again before plunging once again into ultra-cold territory, says Gilligan.
He says Neanderthals were unable to adapt their clothing in response to such rapid climate change.
Gilligans study is published in the current issue of the journal World Archaeology.(ANI)
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