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Evolving in Their Graves

Early burials hold clues to human origins

By
3:16pm, December 11, 2001

Sometime within the past 40,000 years, Neandertals disappeared from Europe, modern-looking people replaced them, and a wave of cultural change washed over the region. New techniques for fashioning tools from bone and stone came into use. Artistic expression increased markedly: Paintings appeared for the first time on cave walls, and sculpted figurines and objects of personal adornment became widespread. Other cultural practices, such as honoring the dead, either arose or grew more complex.

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