Human Evolution @ UCL


Social networks of Homo sapiens were more extensive than Homo Neanderthalensis

3 March 2022

Cardina preserves a unique Middle to Upper Palaeolithic sequence in Inland Iberia. The extension of Neanderthal’s social networks is key factor for its demise. Lithic sourcing indirectly documents past foragers land use and social networks.

Homo neanderthalensis reconstruction

Hunter-gatherer societies mobility has been interpreted as a dialectical interplay of social and environmental factors. Demography and social network restriction have been pointed out as potential factors for the demise of Neanderthal and to differ them from anatomically modern human. To reconstruct land use and social network we investigate Middle and Upper Palaeolithic lithic remains from an open-air site located in Iberian hinterland, spanning from MIS 5 to 3. In a geological environment with a variety of quartz veins but no available flint or silcrete sources, data reveal common patterns through Neanderthal occupations, and substantial differences interpreted as distinct subsistence strategies and social networks of the two populations.

Far from flint: Inferring land-use and social networks from Middle and Upper Palaeolithic lithic assemblages (Cardina-Salto do Boi, Côa Valley, Portugal)

Thierry Aubry, António Fernando Barbosa, Cristina Gameiro, Luís Luís, André Tomás Santos, Marcelo Silvestre