Neanderthal excavation, Pinilla del Valle

Neanderthal excavation, Pinilla del Valle

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Credit: MARCO ANSALONI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Neanderthal excavation. Researcher carrying out geological excavations to help date prehistoric human fossils at the La Buena Pinta cave at the Pinilla del Valle site, in the Lozoya Valley, near Madrid, Spain. Several Neanderthal fossils have been found here. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. They did not use complex tools but had mastery of fire and built shelters. It is thought that they had language and a complex social structure, living in small family groups and hunting for food. Excavations by around 70 people have been taking place here every summer for over a decade since around 2002.

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