It seems as if Neanderthals were not as dumb as scientists thought. Archaeologists rummaging around in a cave in Italy found some of the oldest known evidence of the Neanderthals using glue on their stone tools. The process is called “hafting” and it wasn’t believed the slope-headed cousins of Homo sapiens knew how to do it.
The tools the scientists found were dated to about 40 to 50 thousand years ago. Scientists thought Neanderthals lacked intelligence and were surprised to find they could fashion sophisticated weapons.
“We continue to find evidence that the Neanderthals were not inferior primitives but were quite capable of doing things that have traditionally only been attributed to modern humans.”
More than 1,000 tools were found in the Italian caves. Analysis of the tools showed the “glue” used was pine resin from local pine trees mixed with beeswax. The Neanderthals used the glue to attach stone tools to wooden handles.
The find also hinted at something else not considered before. Since pine resin dries in the air, it would have needed to be heated to apply to the tools. This means the Neanderthals knew how to make fire, another skill that scientists did not believe they had the knowledge to do.