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The Science Advances journal shows on the cover a new collaboration of the TIDOP Group


The collaboration between the TIDOP Group, the Institute of Evolution in Africa (IDEA) and the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) is the cover of the journal Science Advances.

A recent collaboration between members of the TIDOP Group from the polytechnic school of Ávila, the Institute of Evolution in Africa (IDEA) of Madrid and the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) of Tarragona (among others) have revealed new evidence for the study of the symbolic capacity of the last Neanderthal populations of the Iberian Peninsula. As presented in Science Advances’ new front cover, remains of an Imperial Iberian eagle discovered in Foradada Cave (Calafell, Tarragona) present the most recent evidence for the elaboration of decorative personal ornaments by Neanderthal populations, dated back 39,000 years and associated with the Châtelperronian culture of Europe.

Led by Dr. Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo, this research team benefited fundamentally from the interdisciplinary collaboration among both national and international research centers. An example of these collaborations can be found in the work of Lloyd A. Courtenay, member of the TIDOP Group as well as the Doctoral School of the University of Salamanca. This archaeologist is a specialist in the application of new technologies for the 3D analysis of microscopic marks on bone that are almost invisible to the naked eye. His contribution in this study allowed for a rigorous statistical evaluation of the bone in question, confirming the presence of human manipulation of these eagle remains 39,000 years ago.

The impact these finds have are multiple for the study of our human evolution. As pointed out by the authors, discoveries of this nature are another piece to the puzzle revealing Neanderthals to be much more complex than once believed. Among evidence of the use of feathers, pigments and implications for the elaboration of cave paintings, the use and manipulation of animal remains for non-dietary purposes helps reveal new data about the cultural complexity of our closest European ancestors.

New published on 11/04/2019