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23 September 2011
An early understanding of tides - Part 2

Back on August 2011 we commented on some findings from South Africa which showed that early Homo Sapiens had developed knowledge of tides, to enable him to harvest brown mussels and sea snails which were only accessible at low tide. As Homo Sapiens migrated north, into the coastal areas of the Mediterranean, he took the knowledge with him, to exploit the seas in his new territories.
     It would appear now that he either shared this knowledge with local Neanderthals or they copied him or they developed it themselves. A team comprising archaeologists from Seville University, Spain and the Spanish National Council for Scientific Investigation (CSIC) have been working in a cave in Torremolinos, on Spain's Costa del Sol.
     Their finds date from approximately 150,000 BCE and the remains of shellfish and marine animals have been found, similar to those ast Pinnacle Point in South Africa. Some of the remains contained burned mussel shells, which suggests that they preferred their shellfish cooked and there is evidence of tools being used to crack open the shells.
     The interesting point to note is that this find is contemporaneous with the South African find, which poses the question as to why both Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens evolved in quite diverse ways when, at one point, they were following the same behavioural path. The leader of the team from Seville University, Miguel Cortes Sanchez, is quoted as saying "It provides evidence for the exploitation of coastal resources by Neanderthals at a much earlier time than any of those previousl reported".

Edited from The Telegraph (15 September 2011)

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