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On Fri, 11 Jan 2013 17:31:19 +0100
Jörg Rhiemeier <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>  And there is some evidence for at least some
> of the mental abilities that render us unique among the life forms
> of our planet being exclusive to _Homo sapiens_.  For instance,
> there is no evidence of any kind of fine art among non-sapiens
> homos.  They only made tools, weapons and other useful items.
> These are often beautiful, sure; but all of them had a practical
> function.  Also, technological evolution was unbelievably slow,
> with the same types of artifacts being in use for hundreds of
> millennia.  Apparently, the non-sapiens homos were unable to
> consciously invent new gadgets.

Neanderthals were certainly less versatile and more inclined to make do.
If you compare their tool-kit with that of their sapiens
contemporaries, it's much smaller. If they needed to make a hole in a
piece of leather, the Neanderthal took the tool with the sharpest
point, the Cro-Magnon took the tool he'd made for making holes in
leather. Cro-Magnons were also cleaner: they buried refuse away from
the camp, instead of leaving it lying around to attract vermin. As for
art, there is evidence of engraved bone and of jewelry produced by late
Neanderthals, but the quality is poor and it only appears after contact
with H. sap. sap. They liked it when they saw it, but they'd not
thought of it for themselves.