Neanderthals may have lived 8,000 years longer than thoughtMay 13th, 2011 - 10:38 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, May 13 (IANS) Neanderthals, experts believe, died between 37,000 and 40,000 years ago. However, latest stone artefacts discovered in Russia may mean they actually lived for a further 8,000 years than previously thought.
Scientists have found what may be one of the last northern refuges of Neanderthals near the Arctic circle in Russia.
The stone tools and flakes look like the work of Neanderthals - the stocky, muscular hunters who populated Europe and western Asia until they were replaced by modern humans, the journal Science reported.
The site lies along the Pechora river, west of the Ural mountains, about 150 km south of the Arctic circle in Russia. Researchers dated it from animal bones and sand grains, according to the Daily Mail.
Nobody has found any human bones or DNA that could provide stronger evidence that Neanderthals lived there, report the scientists from Russia, France and Norway.
Richard Klein, Stanford University professor of anthropology, said the artefacts do look like the work of Neanderthals, but that it was also possible they were made by modern people instead.
Eric Delson, palaeoanthropologist at Lehman College in New York, cited a 2006 study that suggests Neanderthals occupied a cave near the southern tip of Spain at about the same time as the new work puts them in Russia.
Maybe the two locations show how Neanderthals retreated in opposite directions from the encroachment of the modern humans, he said.
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