Cache of eagle claws points to Neandertal jewelry-making | Science News

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Cache of eagle claws points to Neandertal jewelry-making

Extinct human relative had ability to create symbolic objects, researchers argue

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12:48pm, March 20, 2015
talon jewelry

TALON SHOW  Neandertals strung these eight white-tailed eagle claws into a necklace or bracelet 130,000 years ago, a new study concludes. A white-tailed eagle’s foot bone (far right) was found with the claws.

Neandertals made the oldest known piece of jewelry in Europe, a 130,000-year-old necklace or bracelet featuring eight white-tailed eagle claws, a new study suggests.

The eagle claws came from a rock-shelter in Croatia called Krapina where Neandertal remains have also been unearthed. Toolmarks and polished spots showing wear on the claws indicate they were purposefully removed from eagles, strung together and worn, researchers report online March 11 in PLOS ONE.  

This personal ornament was created roughly 60,000 years before Homo sapiens reached Europe, say paleontologist Davorka Radovčić of the Croatian Natural History Museum in Zagreb and her colleagues. The timing means that Neandertals didn’t have to wait for modern humans to move in and demonstrate necklace-making and other symbolic practices, as some researchers have argued, her team concludes. Given

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