Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Spread of prehistoric peoples in California tied to environment
by Staff Writers
Salt Lake City, Calif. (UPI) Aug 19, 2013

Archaeologists find evidence of separate Neanderthal cultures in Europe
Southampton, England (UPI) Aug 19, 2013 - A study of prehistoric hand axes created by Neanderthals shows two distinct cultural traditions in populations in different regions of Europe, researchers say.

Scientists at the University of Southampton in Britain say the finding suggests Neanderthals were more culturally complex than previously acknowledged.

Southampton archaeologist Karen Ruebens examined the design of 1,300 stone tools originating from 80 Neanderthal sites in five European countries; France, Germany, Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands.

Comparison showed evidence two separate hand axe traditions or designs existed; one in a region now spanning southwestern France and Britain, the other in Germany and further to the East, a university release reported Monday.

"In Germany and France there appears to be two separate hand axe traditions, with clear boundaries, indicating completely separate, independent developments," Ruebens said.

Neanderthals in the western region made symmetrical, triangular and heart-shaped hand axes, while during the same time period in the eastern region they produced asymmetrically shaped bifacial knives, the study found.

"Distinct ways of making a hand axe were passed on from generation to generation and for long enough to become visible in the archaeological record," Ruebens said.

"This indicates a strong mechanism of social learning within these two groups and says something about the stability and connectivity of the Neanderthal populations."

"The transition zone in Belgium and Northern France indicates contact between the different groups of Neanderthals, which is generally difficult to identify but has been much talked about, especially in relation to later contacts with groups of modern humans," she said.

Environmental factors have helped shape California's diversity of Indian ethnic-and-language groups in the last 12,000 years, researchers say.

Populations of peoples have followed the greenery, they said, with successive waves of migrating tribes settling first on the lush Pacific coast and moving on to progressively drier, less-vegetated habitats.

"Trying to explain why linguistic diversity is high in some places and low in others has been a big issue in anthropology," lead study author Brian Codding of the University of Utah said.

"For a number of years, people have shown a correlation between ecological diversity and linguistic diversity," he explained. "What we did in this study that was different was to look at it over time -- to actually see the process through which different populations came to live side-by-side as neighbors or replaced one population with another. We're showing how the diversity actually developed over time."

The researches said they set out to determine if the suitability of ancient California habitats correlated with when and where wave after wave of Native American immigrants settled during the past 12,000 years, resulting in prehistoric California's extreme diversity of ethnicities and languages.

The comparative lushness of California regions, mostly unchanged for millennia, correlated to the order in which nine major prehistoric ethnolinguistic groups migrated to California and colonized the state, they found.

From about 12,000 to 8,000 years ago, the researchers found, the earliest settlers colonized the most suitable, lush habitats along the Pacific coast, particularly estuaries and river mouths, while from 8,000 to 4,000 years ago, "migrants settled in more marginal habitats" in California's Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada.

"We can use these general results to try to understand how ethnic diversity builds over time in different areas," Codding said. "It suggests that where we see a lot of ecological diversity, migration patterns probably should result in the buildup of linguistic diversity."

The finding "may aid in the explanation of prehistoric hunter-gatherer migrations across the globe, including the initial spread of people out of Africa into Europe, Asia and across to Australia-New Guinea," the researchers said in reporting their study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Related Links
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Research effort dates oldest known petroglyphs in North America
Boulder CO (SPX) Aug 19, 2013
A new high-tech analysis led by a University of Colorado Boulder researcher shows the oldest known petroglyphs in North America, which are cut into several boulders in western Nevada, date to at least 10,500 years ago and perhaps even as far back as 14,800 years ago. The petroglyphs located at the Winnemucca Lake petroglyph site 35 miles northeast of Reno consist of large, deeply carved gr ... read more

Disaster-weary Philippines mops up after deadly floods

Protesters blast Russia's undocumented immigrants detention camps

Fukushima operator pumps out toxic groundwater

Legacy of 1986 Chernobyl disaster seen in impact on region's forests

Will 'space junk' problem intensify?

Space station astronauts to be provided with 3-D printer to make parts

Advancing resistive memory to improve portable electronics

ORNL superconducting wire yields unprecedented performance

Study sees increased risk of flooding in world's coastal cities

Hydropower poses a threat to Shanghai water

Jordan to launch 'first phase' of Dead Sea canal

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon sees country's future in hydropower

Earth orbit changes were key to Antarctic warming that ended last ice age

Improving Understanding of Snowball Earth

Antarctic ice core sheds new light on how the last ice age ended

Chinese tycoon still hopes to sign Icelandic land deal

New contamination scare hits N. Zealand dairy industry

Even for cows, less can be more

Soil biodiversity crucial to future land management and response to climate change

Researchers discover protein that helps plants tolerate drought, flooding, other stresses

Philippine floods kill three, paralyse capital

Slow earthquakes may foretell larger events

China floods death toll passes 100

Clean-up begins after Japan volcano eruption

China's Xi vows stepped up health cooperation with Africa: Xinhua

Keita wins by landslide in Mali presidential vote

Leader of 2012 military coup in Mali promoted

DR Congo colonel defects to M23 rebels with 30 men: army

Archaeologists find evidence of separate Neanderthal cultures in Europe

Spread of prehistoric peoples in California tied to environment

Research effort dates oldest known petroglyphs in North America

Study contradicts concept of 'left brain,' 'right-brain' personalities

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement