The longstanding Neanderthal Mystery concerning 40,000-year-old bones has finally been solved

Fareeha Arshad
Photo by Ignaz Wrobel on Unsplash

The first time the ancient bones of the two-year-old child were discovered was in the late twentieth century. These bones belonging to ancient humans are estimated to be 41,000 years old and were uncovered in the southwestern region of France, La Ferrassie. However, most researchers believed the bones to be intentionally buried by the Neanderthals when the bones were discovered.

This discovery intrigued the historians on whether or not Neanderthals actually buried their dead or whether these rites involving the dead started at that time, or is it unique to Homo sapiens. In a recent study conducted by Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in France, researchers have restudied the remains excavated by the archaeologists in the 1970s. The discovered bones were kept in the museum for the following five decades.

In the latest study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers thoroughly analyzed the notes available from the original team that first unearthed the bones. In addition, they further analyzed the site where the bones were first found.

One of the first conclusions the French team mentioned was the reaffirmation of the previous studies: that the child was indeed buried. There is no other concrete evidence, like animal marks or any other scars that would suggest otherwise. This means that the Neanderthals practised the acts of burial as we do now. They surely buried their dead even 40,000 years ago to help the souls of their dear ones find peace in their graves.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State

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