November 11, 2008

Belgian Spy Neanderthals 36,000 years BP old

American Journal of Physical Anthropology 10.1002/ajpa.20954

New data on the late Neandertals: Direct dating of the Belgian Spy fossils

Patrick Semal et al.


In Eurasia, the period between 40,000 and 30,000 BP saw the replacement of Neandertals by anatomically modern humans (AMH) during and after the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. The human fossil record for this period is very poorly defined with no overlap between Neandertals and AMH on the basis of direct dates. Four new 14C dates were obtained on the two adult Neandertals from Spy (Belgium). The results show that Neandertals survived to at least ≈ 36,000 BP in Belgium and that the Spy fossils may be associated to the Lincombian-Ranisian-Jerzmanowician, a transitional techno-complex defined in northwest Europe and recognized in the Spy collections. The new data suggest that hypotheses other than Neandertal acculturation by AMH may be considered in this part of Europe.


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