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Science Journal: Caveman Crooners May Have Aided Early Human Life
Post Gazette ^ | 3-31-2006 | Sharon Begley

Posted on 04/01/2006 3:09:41 PM PST by blam

Science Journal: Caveman crooners may have aided early human life

Friday, March 31, 2006

By Sharon Begley, The Wall Street Journal

In Steven Mithen's imagination, the small band of Neanderthals gathered 50,000 years ago around the caves of Le Moustier, in what is now the Dordogne region of France, were butchering carcasses, scraping skins, shaping ax heads -- and singing.

One of the fur-clad men started it, a rhythmic sound with rising and falling pitch, and others picked it up, indicating their willingness to cooperate both in the moment and in the future, when the group would have to hunt or fend off predators. The music promoted "a sense of we-ness, of being together in the same situation facing the same problems," suggests Prof. Mithen, an archaeologist at England's Reading University.
Music, he says, creates "a social rather than a merely individual identity." And that may solve a longstanding mystery.

Music gives biologists fits. Its ubiquity in human cultures, and strong evidence that the brain comes preloaded with musical circuits, suggest that music is as much a product of human evolution as, say, thumbs. But that raises the question of what music is for.
Back in 1871, Darwin speculated that human music, like bird songs, attracts mates. Or, as he put it, prelinguistic human ancestors tried "to charm each other with musical notes and rhythm."

Some scientists today share that view. "Music was shaped by sexual selection to function mostly as a courtship display," Geoffrey Miller, of the University of New Mexico, argued in a 2001 paper.
But like Darwin, he bases that conclusion on the belief that music has "no identifiable survival benefits." If a trait doesn't help creatures survive, then it can persist generation after generation only if it helps them reproduce.

Studies in neuroscience and anthropology, however...

(Excerpt) Read more at post-gazette.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aided; caveman; crooners; early; godsgravesglyphs; human; journal; life; science

1 posted on 04/01/2006 3:09:42 PM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 04/01/2006 3:10:10 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
By fostering cooperation and creativity among bands of early, prelanguage human ancestors, music would have given them a survival edge.

Then the lawyers showed up.

3 posted on 04/01/2006 3:13:03 PM PST by Caveman Lawyer (Cluckin' defiance)
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To: blam
In Steven Mithen's imagination

Enough said.

4 posted on 04/01/2006 3:13:30 PM PST by itsahoot (Any country that does not control its borders, is not a country. Ronald Reagan)
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To: blam
The Troggs (As in Troglodyte)

Image hosting by TinyPic
5 posted on 04/01/2006 3:16:32 PM PST by cripplecreek (Never a minigun handy when you need one.)
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To: blam
We all know how much they liked to jam:


6 posted on 04/01/2006 3:20:46 PM PST by WestVirginiaRebel (Common sense will do to liberalism what the atomic bomb did to Nagasaki-Rush Limbaugh)
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To: WestVirginiaRebel
Bears repeating:


7 posted on 04/01/2006 3:23:34 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (Peace Begins in the Womb)
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To: blam
I'm sure that Neanderthals screamed, whistled and howled but this Prof. Mithen has proposed them sitting around singing? A silly idea that he has somehow strung out into a book; "The Singing Neanderthals, which Harvard University Press is publishing Friday."
8 posted on 04/01/2006 3:26:12 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (Life is like a cow pasture, it's hard to get through without stepping in some mess. NRA.)
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To: blam
The Neanderthals may have even used the major scale:

http://www.shakuhachi.com/CM-Fink-NEANDERTHAL.html
9 posted on 04/01/2006 3:29:26 PM PST by decal (My name is "decal" and I approve this tagline)
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To: blam
We still have cave people around...


10 posted on 04/01/2006 3:38:18 PM PST by Dallas59 (MOHAMMED LIED-PEOPLE DIED)
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To: blam

Danged long haired scuzzy neander-teens out caterwauling and banging on rocks driving their parents up the cave walls. Does it never end?


11 posted on 04/01/2006 3:44:38 PM PST by mtbopfuyn
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To: WestVirginiaRebel
The Neaderthals were doing great until one of them started to sing.....

"Someone left the cake out in the rain,
I don't think I could take it,
`cause it took so long to bake it,
And I'll never have that recipe again,
Oh noooooooooooooo!"

It all went downhill from there.

12 posted on 04/01/2006 4:00:06 PM PST by albee (The best thing you can do for the poor is.....not be one of them. - Eric Hoffer)
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To: blam
"Back in 1871, Darwin speculated . . ."

And these guys are still speculating to this day. No facts. No evidence. Just speculation.

13 posted on 04/01/2006 4:11:47 PM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: blam

If the Neanderthals sang, I'm betting it was rap.


14 posted on 04/01/2006 4:20:27 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: blam

And they know this how?


15 posted on 04/01/2006 4:54:58 PM PST by calex59
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To: 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 4ConservativeJustices; A. Patriot; A.J.Armitage; abner; ABrit; ACelt; adam_az; ..
Thanks Blam.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
Gods, Graves, Glyphs PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

16 posted on 04/01/2006 7:15:25 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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A Rumination on the Invention of Soup
by Patricia Solley
...the glory of soup was yet to be. Some say its inventor was one of the Homo sapiens gang, sometime after 80,000 BCE--either the Neanderthals...or the Cro-Magnons who ultimately did those poor Neanderthals in. Others argue for a later generation--Neolithic man around 10,000 BCE.

I kind of like the Neanderthal theory. It was a particularly tough and dangerous world back then. These hunter-gatherers were stuck in the last blast of the Wurm glaciation that killed off so much of their food and so many species. It was every man for himself as they ran fearfully from--and ran hungrily after--woolly mammoths, sabre-tooth tigers, wolves, and other hominids. And yet elderly Neanderthal skeletons have been found in France with teeth worn down below gum level--and deeply crippled skeletons have been found too. Implication: They could only have been kept alive through the compassion of their communities and the brilliance of some nouvelle cuisine chef who could find food alternatives to incredibly indigestible plants, meat tougher than my old aunt's shoes, and all of it cold. I try to put myself under the toque of that Stone Age Julia Child. I imagine him or her using bark to dip and carry water...putting food bits in it and noticing them soften or swell...marking how plants and berries, meat and marrow chunks would infuse the water with color and flavor. I imagine him or her getting the idea of warm broth from the 98.6 degree Fahrenheit mother's milk that kept little Neanderthal babies happy.

That's when it hits me: Soup! It's an unbelievable achievement--a matter of thought overreaching what was technologically possible at the time. I think of anthropologist Sally McBrearty's recent remark: "The earliest Homo sapiens probably had the cognitive capability to invent Sputnik...but didn't yet have the history of invention or a need for those things." But soup? Yes, he needed soup. He needed soup, so he imagined soup. He imagined soup, so he brought it into being, despite his lack of pots to cook it in.
The Neandertal Enigma
by James Shreeve
Frayer's own reading of the record reveals a number of overlooked traits that clearly and specifically link the Neandertals to the Cro-Magnons. One such trait is the shape of the opening of the nerve canal in the lower jaw, a spot where dentists often give a pain-blocking injection. In many Neandertal, the upper portion of the opening is covered by a broad bony ridge, a curious feature also carried by a significant number of Cro-Magnons. But none of the alleged 'ancestors of us all' fossils from Africa have it, and it is extremely rare in modern people outside Europe." [pp 126-127]

17 posted on 04/01/2006 7:22:52 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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To: Brilliant

Either that, or Give Peace a Chance, Kumbaya, or Imagine.


18 posted on 04/01/2006 7:27:19 PM PST by flying Elvis
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Ancient Food News:
Tracing the Origins and Use of Food:
Inventing Soup
Carson I.A. Ritchie in Food in Civilization makes the most comprehensive case for the Neolithic invention of soup. "Evidence suggests that the Neaderthalers had evolved quite sophisticated cooking techniques. They were able to keep alive members of the group who were apparently either very elderly or lifelong invalids. The remains of one young man found near La-Chapelle-aux-Saints in France were those of a cripple who could have been of no use in hunting for the group. Another skeleton was that of an old man who had his teeth worn down to such an extent that he would have found it impossible to chew meat. There was no milk in those days, the food on which, in later times, old toothless people were kept alive. It seems at least likely that people of this sort were nourished on a diet of soup. Now the invention of soup making opened the door for all kinds of other sophisticated cookery.

What went on in the Neanderthal kitchen is a matter for conjecture, but one sensible suggestion is that he boiled animals in their skins. The hide of a flayed animal would be suspended on forked sticks, filled with meat and water, and a fire lighted beneath it. After some time the water would boil, the meat would be cooked, and the broth could then be eaten by invalids. The skin would not catch fire with the heat because it would be cooked by the water. The experiment of boiling water in a bag made of fairly thick paper demonstrates that this kind of cooking is a practical idea. There can be no doubt that cooking in a skin took place in many parts of the world, and it was still being done in Ireland as late as the sixteenth century. ...Until recently, Icelanders used to steam their bread in the boiling water of the hot springs by simply wrapping it in some waterproof substance and then dangling it in the hot spring at the end of a rope....

Another way in which Neanderthal extended his list of recipes was by using hot stones. The hot-stone technique meant the invention of frying. In addition, stones, heated to great heat on a campfire, could be transferred to any receptacle filled with water. A sufficiency of hot stones would induce the water to boil. [While] anthropologists have doubted the feasibility of primitive man's being able to pick the hot stones out of the fire...two stout poles, tied together with a thong, provide a pair of tongs with which even the hottest objects can be removed from a fire. This was the technique used by gun founders in Southeast Asia to remove pieces of slag from a furnace...." (Beaufort Books, 1981)

An Exaltation of Soups: The Soul-Satisfying Story of Soup, As Told in More Than 100 Recipes An Exaltation of Soups:
The Soul-Satisfying Story of Soup,
As Told in More Than 100 Recipes

by Patricia Solley


19 posted on 04/01/2006 7:31:32 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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To: blam

I dunno about men singing in caves but women sing to their babies all the time. Even a mother cat will croon when she's rounding up her kittens.

And children all over the world sing while they're playing, especially girls.


20 posted on 04/01/2006 7:47:57 PM PST by CobaltBlue (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
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To: SunkenCiv

My theory is that one of the most important advances in civilization was when humans developed the ability to keep older people alive so they could pass on more learning. Not to mention watch the babies while the younger people gathered food.


21 posted on 04/01/2006 7:51:21 PM PST by CobaltBlue (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
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To: SunkenCiv
....The skin would not catch fire with the heat because it would be cooked by the water.....

Doesn't it seem likely that the word cooked in this sentence is a typo, and the intended word was cooled?

22 posted on 04/01/2006 8:13:18 PM PST by vrtom (Just an observer of the political scene, learning what I can.)
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1952: Gumby belts out Sinatra tunes at the local dive.

23 posted on 04/01/2006 8:39:57 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam
[ One of the fur-clad men started it, a rhythmic sound with rising and falling pitch, and others picked it up, indicating their willingness to cooperate both in the moment and in the future, when the group would have to hunt or fend off predators. The music promoted "a sense of we-ness, of being together in the same situation facing the same problems ]

I see they were RAPPERS...
"its hard out there for the pIMp"... no matter whats being pimped..

24 posted on 04/01/2006 8:44:10 PM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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To: blam

First ballad:

He rides thru the jungle tearin' limbs offa trees (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Knockin' great big monstahs dead on their knees (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
The cats don't bug him cuz they know bettah (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Cuz he's a mean motah scootah and a bad go-gettah (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
(Alley Oop) He's the toughest man there is alive
(Alley Oop) Wearin' clothes from a wildcat's hide
(Alley Oop) He's the king of the jungle jive
(Look at that cave man go!!)


25 posted on 04/01/2006 8:58:14 PM PST by eddie willers
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