January 11, 2013

Châtelperronian was made by Neanderthals

Contrary to some rumors and some skepticism, the archaeology and radiocarbon chronology appear to support only Neanderthals as the material authors of the first "mode 4" stone industry of Western Europe: the Châtelperronian.

They still allow for it, and especially the novel behavior of production and use of durable ornaments (on bone mostly), to have been influenced by the penetration of Homo sapiens.

Jean-Jacques Hublin et al., Radiocarbon dates from the Grotte du Renne and Saint-Césaire support a Neandertal origin for the Châtelperronian. PNAS 2012. Open accessLINK [ ]

Abstract

The transition from the Middle Paleolithic (MP) to Upper Paleolithic (UP) is marked by the replacement of late Neandertals by modern humans in Europe between 50,000 and 40,000 y ago. Châtelperronian (CP) artifact assemblages found in central France and northern Spain date to this time period. So far, it is the only such assemblage type that has yielded Neandertal remains directly associated with UP style artifacts. CP assemblages also include body ornaments, otherwise virtually unknown in the Neandertal world. However, it has been argued that instead of the CP being manufactured by Neandertals, site formation processes and layer admixture resulted in the chance association of Neanderthal remains, CP assemblages, and body ornaments. Here, we report a series of accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dates on ultrafiltered bone collagen extracted from 40 well-preserved bone fragments from the late Mousterian, CP, and Protoaurignacian layers at the Grotte du Renne site (at Arcy-sur-Cure, France). Our radiocarbon results are inconsistent with the admixture hypothesis. Further, we report a direct date on the Neandertal CP skeleton from Saint-Césaire (France). This date corroborates the assignment of CP assemblages to the latest Neandertals of western Europe. Importantly, our results establish that the production of body ornaments in the CP postdates the arrival of modern humans in neighboring regions of Europe. This new behavior could therefore have been the result of cultural diffusion from modern to Neandertal groups. 

Fig. 1. Calibrated ages and boundaries calculated by using OxCal 4.1 (37) and IntCal09 (36). The Grotte du Renne ages are in black and are compared with the Saint-Césaire human [Neanderthal] bone date in red. Asterisk indicates anthropogenically modified bones. The results are linked with the (NGRIP) δ18O climate record.

Importantly, it is also confirmed that Grotte-du-Renne (Arcy-sur-Cure, Burgundy) is one of the last Chatelperronian, and therefore surely Neanderthal, pockets in  Western Europe, co-existing with Aurignacian North-East and South-West of it, what is suggestive of this latter culture, probably the first settlement by Homo sapiens, expanding to SW Europe via Italy rather than Germany.

Finally, according to our results, the CP Neandertals of the Grotte du Renne, Saint-Césaire, and Les Cottés clearly postdate the earliest likely modern humans remains documented in western Europe (43) and largely overlap in time with the early Aurignacian in the Swabian area (44) and in southwestern France (42).
 
Fig. S1. Geographical distribution of the Châtelperronian assemblages and location of the three main Châtelperronian sites discussed in the text.

Hat tip to Linear Population Model.

16 comments:

  1. "the archaeology and radiocarbon chronology appear to support only Neanderthals as the material authors of the first 'mode 4' stone industry of Western Europe: the Châtelperronian".

    Didn't most of us, except for some 'completely separate species fanatics, already accept that?

    "This new behavior could therefore have been the result of cultural diffusion from modern to Neandertal groups".

    Hmmm ... intimate contact. Which most of us already accept.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So watching someone wearing a hat, liking it and copying the fashion, for example, is "intimate contact". I see that you are privy to the most exotic facets of sex and that you can have an orgasm by visiting a museum, never mind to get pregnant by means of buying some rags at the boutique...

      Most of us mortals however... have more simple erotic and reproductive processes. All hail Eros Toothill!

      Delete
  2. Regarding your comment "probably the first settlement by Homo sapiens, expanding to SW Europe via Italy rather than Germany", that's not what the paper says.

    Instead, what it says is this:

    "The Protoaurignacian of the Grotte du Renne and Les Cottés
    is much younger that the oldest occurrence of this assemblage in
    northern Italy (41) and southern France (42), suggesting a later
    arrival of their likely modern makers in central France. The time
    range of the Protoaurignacian is also wider than found for this
    period in the southern sites and encompasses the Early Aurignacian
    radiocarbon dates from Les Cottés."

    and

    "the CP Neandertals of the
    Grotte du Renne, Saint-Césaire, and Les Cottés clearly postdate
    the earliest likely modern humans remains documented in
    western Europe (43) and largely overlap in time with the early
    Aurignacian in the Swabian area (44) and in southwestern
    France (42)."

    In the film Cave of Forgotten Dreams, it was pointed out that the Swabian area was probably populated from the Ardeche. So the data in this paper for the point of origin for the Protoaurignacian is just as likely to be southwestern Europe as Italy.

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    Replies
    1. It seems very difficult to imagine Swabian Aurignacian/Aurignacoid as being derived from Ardéche based on the known C14 dates, which are oldest for Central European Aurignacian (senso lato and senso stricto). See for example this database (direct download): http://www.paleoanthro.org/journal/content/PA20110001_S01.zip, found at John Hawks' weblog (via Millán's blog).

      According to these, the oldest UP in Europe seems to be (Ka calBP dates):

      1. Swabia: Bockstein Torle (unspecific Aurignacian): 49.7
      2. Russia: Kostenki: Markina Gora (local tech¹): 49.1
      3. Burgundy: Grotte du Renne (Chatelperronian*): 48.9
      4. Aquitaine: Roc de Combe (Chatelperronian*): 48.6 (with Mousterian at very similar dates also)
      5. Hungary: Istallósko (Aurignacian I): 47.7 (this was till recently considered the very first Aurignacian)
      6. Moravia: Bohunice (Bohunician²): 46.3
      7. Hungary: Szeleta (Szeletian*): 46.1
      8. Austria: Willendorf (unspecific Aurignacian): 46.0
      9. Moravia: Stranska Skala (Bohunician): 45.5
      10. Swabia: Holestein Stadel (unspecific Aurignacian): 45.5
      11. Belgium: Trou Magritte (Early Aurignacian): 44.9
      12. Cantabria: El Castillo (Archaic Aurignacian³) 44.7
      13. Basque Country: Isturitz: Proto-Aurignacian: 44.3
      14. Swabia: Geissenklosterle (Aurignacian 0) 44.0
      15: Veneto: Fumane (Dufour Aurignacian) 43.9 (followed by thick Mousterian layers apparently)
      16. Catalonia: Reclau Viver (Archaic Aurignacian) 43.8
      17. Catalonia: L'Arbreda (Aurignacian 0) 43.8
      18. Greece: Klissoura (Uluzzian*) 43.7
      19. Auvergne: Grotte des Fees (Chatelperronian) 43.5
      20. Moravia: Vedrovice (Szeletian*) 43.4
      21. Bulgaria: Temnata (Bachokirian - Early Aurignacian): 43.3
      22. Veneto: Paina (Proto-Aurignacian): 42.9
      23. Bulgaria: Bacho Kiro (Bachokirian - Early Aurignacian): 42.8
      24. Russia: Korolevo (Szeletian*): 42.7
      25. Bavaria: Keilberg Kirche (unspecific Aurignacian): 42.7

      Notes:
      * Neanderthal industry (Szeletian and Chatelperronian are very similar, Uluzzian is distinct)
      ¹ probably Neanderthal-made
      ² Bohunician is related by Hoffecker to Emirian in Levant, while Bachokirian and Proto-Aurignacian he relates to Ahmarian instead (which is clearly of H. sapiens manufacture)
      ³ debated to be Mousterian-derived (Levallois blades, not "mode 4") and therefore Neanderthal-made

      However the Italian route is also very thin. Judging at face value it'd seem that "Basques" would have invented the Proto-Aurignacian (after migrating directly from Palestine somehow) but this simplistic judgment surely does not hold and Pyrenean PA must be linked to Swabia, Austria or Italy somehow. But a France→Germany migration does not seem to hold - unless they meant later on in the Magdalenian post-LGM recolonization.

      Delete
  3. The topic of the relationship between the Swabian Jura and the Dordogne is a matter of current research, so I won't take that any further. You can watch the film "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" if you are interested in the work that is being done on this topic.

    I am simply pointing out in the above statement that it cannot be concluded from this paper that the origin of the Aurignacian is Italy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I watched the film but I don't recall that detail, sorry.

      ... "it cannot be concluded from this paper that the origin of the Aurignacian is Italy".

      That was not what I meant, just for SW European first Aurignacian (or Proto-Aurignacian). My logic is that Burgundy is half-way between Swabia and Southern France and that such a late survival of Neanderthals in Burgundy (which is indeed one of the latest pockets) seems to contradict somewhat a direct Swabia → Franco-Cantabrian Region migration. It does not make it impossible and the Italian route also has some issues admittedly.

      Delete
    2. To be more precise: following the chronology above, Aurignacian (both senso lato and senso stricto) seems to originate in Central Europe, arguably from earlier West Asian precursors like Ahmarian and/or Emirian (but a bit obscure).

      The issue was for me how it arrived from that area to the Franco-Cantabrian Region. I considered two possible routes:

      (a) bordering the Alps by the North and West
      (b) through Northern Italy

      However there is also a third possible route via Belgium and the, now largely submerged, Western French continental bank (including the English Channel). In any case, if they did not use caves but camped in the open, be it at the Atlantic lowlands or the Italian Po basin (where sedimentation would have hidden all evidence as well), we would have a very hard time to find the evidence.

      So the matter is open, yes.

      In any case, do you know which are the earliest dates for Grotte Chauvet?

      Delete
    3. Even if uncalibrated they'd be too late for be the source or even a secondary source of Aurignacian. It's almost the Gravettian period (in Central Europe, not in SW Europe yet) by that time.

      Delete
  4. "So watching someone wearing a hat, liking it and copying the fashion, for example, is 'intimate contact'".

    Maju, don't be such an idiot. The sort of stuff they're talking about here is not passed on by watching somebody at a distance. And 'intimate contact' does not always imply 'sex', although it may do for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not just most people would understand "sex" by the phrase "intimate contact" (not even euphemistic, quite explicit in fact) but I know you meant it and now you are just playing your usual fool card.

      Get lost.

      Delete
    2. The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact With Your Baby Leads To Happier, Healthier Development

      So, this author is suggesting that mothers should have sexual relationships with their babies? How difficult existence must be for one so literally minded!

      I knew what Terry meant. Having attempted to debate you in the past, I strongly suspect that you did as well.

      Delete
    3. Ok, cuddling also allowed. I don't know what you imagine Terry is doing but I do know for a fact that what he has in mind is to argue for inter-species sex... just because there was inter-species contact of some sort (the evidence does not suggest "intimate" contact).

      Notice that I do not reject the possibility of inter-species sex, I'm just tired of his continuous word games (as if truth could be made only out of words, with calculated ambiguity and such) and his "I told you so".

      Delete
    4. I just came through a totally unrelated article (a political one in fact) that may have a relevant interest here because it is largely about how constructive debate should be, it's titled 'The subtle characteristics of sectarianism'. When stating how a grassroots organization should work (and this applies to any serious scientific debate as well):

      Among other interesting points on how debate should be, they state:

      3. Opposition to polemical distortion in disagreements.

      'Polemic' and derivates is a word that I seldom use in English because in Spanish it tends to mean just 'controversial'. But in English it means something else, more in line with the original Greek meaning of 'polemos' = 'war'.

      And I suddenly realized that that is precisely what Terry does, especially in its first meaning, more than half of the time:

      A person who writes in support of one opinion, doctrine, or system, in opposition to another; one skilled in polemics; a controversialist; a disputant.

      It could well follow: Terry Toothill.

      His is the "truth" (his "truth") and will do anything, not to understand others' point of view and complement them constructively, but to defend his own pre-determined version of things once and again with whatever rhetorical means, as if it was an electoral debate and not a mostly harmless but infinitely more serious scientific debate.

      In this case he threw his 'intimate contact' bomb (nothing in the evidence says 'intimate contact' of any sort - nor the opposite admittedly) but this is just a particular example... of something he simply does ALL THE TIME, manipulating the conversation and the words/phrases in, it instead of focusing on the substance and, very especially the truth ("Not your truth but Truth"... wrote Machado) we are supposed to seek as scientifically inclined people.

      What can I do about it short of banning him altogether from the comments section (what is a problem because I either delete systematically all his comments or I establish pre-pub moderation of comments and I do not want to do either)? Crying loud. In fact what I'd like, specially considering he's a long-time commenter and now and then he also makes positive contributions, is for him to cease and desist in his destructive polemic attitude.

      He's pulling my leg all the time, he must know it (or he has a serious psychological problem). I'm OK with my leg being pulled now and then, if it's done in good humor and friendly conciliation and laughs follow, but that is not what he does: he pulls my leg only to make his otherwise unsupported points look vaguely more "truthful".

      That is what I truly hate: scientific debates should be about facts. Honest speculation is advisable but insisting on mere pet-hypothesis in circular and dishonest polemic is simply hateful, it amounts to intellectual trolling.

      Delete
    5. And following a link into another older article in the same site:

      7. Sectarians are often extremely bitter polemicists and frequently poison the atmosphere of debate.
      8. Sectarians are often boastful and arrogant, in their actions and their certainty of being ‘correct’.
      9. Sectarians are generally satisfied by logical deductions and the use of abstractions.
      10. Sectarians, explicitly or implicitly demand that [everyone] should follow them.


      Of course you have not been dragged by Terry to several scores-comments-long draining circular and mostly sterile "debates" on the origin of Oceanic peoples recently (and that's only the tip of the iceberg), so you may not understand fully where I come from. If you wish to understand I suggest you search for "Austronesian" and try to read the mass of comments. Then you should understand better.

      Delete
  5. "I knew what Terry meant. Having attempted to debate you in the past, I strongly suspect that you did as well".

    Thank you. We are all getting to know Maju's idiosyncracies. I would assume that everyone except Maju knew I meant by 'intimate contact': that at least two people were involved in showing each other how to make or do something new.

    "the evidence does not suggest 'intimate' contact"

    So how else was information passed from one 'species' to the other? Did Neanderthals use binoculars? Or just bug the modern human campsites?

    "In this case he threw his 'intimate contact' bomb"

    It was no 'bomb'. It was you who jumped to the conclusionn I was talking about sex when I meant no such thing.

    "Of course you have not been dragged by Terry to several scores-comments-long draining circular and mostly sterile 'debates' on the origin of Oceanic peoples recently"

    The reason I got involved with that is because you still have many false perceptions of the process, in spite of my best efforts. Try reading a bit wider than just the 'latest' genetic findings. This new information fits exactly what has long been known about human expansion into Remote Oceania, but you are so consumed with your Garden of Eden theory that refuse to accept anything else.

    "If you wish to understand I suggest you search for 'Austronesian' and try to read the mass of comments. Then you should understand better".

    And you will appreciate what anyone who tries to point Maju in the correct direction is up against.

    "I do know for a fact that what he has in mind is to argue for inter-species sex..."

    And as more evidence is uncovered it becomes more and more obvious that it happened. How else could 'modern humans' have any Neanderthal genes? Again it is your belief in a single expansion of new species from assorted Gardens of Eden that blinds you to any other possibility.

    "His is the 'truth' (his 'truth') and will do anything, not to understand others' point of view and complement them constructively"

    Like Va_Highlander I have tried constructive discussion with you and it doesn't work. I usually do understand your point of view but you are unable to take any suggestion that your point of view may be mistaken. And it is not usually 'my' truth, but a 'truth' accepted by nearly every scientist working in the particular field.

    "Sectarians are often extremely bitter polemicists and frequently poison the atmosphere of debate".

    Now I see it clearly. You are a sectarian.

    "What can I do about it short of banning him altogether from the comments section"

    You could consider seriously other people's suggestions for a start. I know Va_Highlander is not the only other one trying to break into your utterly closed mind.

    ReplyDelete

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