How Neanderthals Perfected the Complex Underground Technology of Birch Tar Extraction

The first synthetic fermentation on planet Earth may not have been a product of our species, but was discovered by a close relative long ago. About 200,000 years ago.

Researchers from the University of Tübingen and the State Museum of Prehistory in Germany and the University of Strasbourg in France recently performed a complex chemical analysis of Neanderthal artifacts made using birch tar, and concluded that the way they were extracted was no accident.

tar birch It is a black viscous substance that has been used since ancient times for its various adhesive, waterproof and even antimicrobial properties. Some of the first people in Europe used it to connect their tool parts together.

The substance could be extracted from birch bark using heat, but scientists disagree whether Neanderthals produced the tar on purpose or simply enjoyed a warm fire.

some thoughts black tar as a happy coincidence that Neanderthals only scraped off the surrounding rocks after burning birch bark. Others think the waterproof adhesive was carefully crafted in underground kilns long before our species learned the trick.

This may sound like excessive brawling, but it is generally assumed that the deliberate distillation of beneficial substances from raw materials is another activity that distinguishes human intelligence from that of other species.

based on analysis Two birch logs found at an archaeological site in GermanyThis Another study argues that “birch tar can document advanced technology, forward planning, and cultural capabilities in Neanderthals.”

Chemical analysis of the artifacts shows that they lacked oxygen during their formation. This low-oxygen appearance could, in theory, be achieved in a number of ways, so the researchers tested various approaches.

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Two methods burn birch bark above ground, while three methods are used in underground kilns.

Burning birch bark above ground allowed tar to condense on exposed rocks or stick vaults. The underground method basically meant burying rolled birch bark under a fire.

Two pieces of birch tar (a) and five methods (bf) of birch tar extraction were tested. (Schmidt et al., Archeology and Anthropology2023)

In the end, only birch tar made underground had the same chemical signatures as ancient artifacts found in Germany.

findings Recommend Neanderthal tar was not the accidental result of an “accidental operation in open-air fires”, but rather a complex underground technology that had to be carefully planned, as it could not be monitored once buried.

Such a complex preparation requires a special recipe that must be strictly followed. Researchers say the practice may have been discovered through trial and error, with gradual improvements increasing over time.

If Neanderthals did make tar 200,000 years ago, that trumps any evidence. Wise people tar manufacture with 100,000 years.

“So” researcher he wroteWhat we are showing here for the first time is that Neanderthals discovered and perfected transformational technologies, most likely independent of influence Wise people. “

Previous findings have shown that Neanderthals had a complex diet that involved many steps to prepare food. However, their use of fire may not be limited to heating or cooking.

The intelligence of our former cousin can no longer be underestimated.

The study has been published in Archeology and Anthropology.

2023-06-04 09:50:52
#Neanderthals #carefully #link #article #ScienceAlert

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