November 2019
Vol 5, Issue 11

About The Cover

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ONLINE COVER Archaeologists have suggested that Neanderthals used seashells as beads and to hold paints, indicating that these ancient humans may have conveyed ideas like social status or rank with symbolic objects. Over the years, they have found eagle talons at Neanderthal sites, proposing that they, too, had been used for symbolic purposes. Because these kinds of finds are uncommon, however, some researchers have argued that Neanderthals did not have symbolic culture, at least until modern humans introduced it to them after migrating into Europe and Eurasia. Now, Rodriguez-Hidalgo et al. have found an eagle toe bone (phalanx) in Foradada Cave in Spain that they believe was cut by a Neanderthal to remove the talon. Using 3-D analysis, they found that cut marks on the bone were made by a tool, likely to remove the talon as there is little nutritional content on that part of the bird. The authors believe Neanderthals may have used eagle talons and feathers to evoke connotations of eagles as majestic predators. The results contribute to scarce evidence that ancient humans may have used animal parts for symbolic purposes, as opposed to practical ones. [CREDIT: ANTONIO RODRÍGUEZ-HIDALGO]