22 September 2021 The Future is the Product of the Past

Neanderthals too may have Developed a System of Numerical Notation

People developed numbers tens of thousands of years ago, according to archeological findings. Scholars are now investigating the first comprehensive hypotheses behind this life-changing invention.

A Neanderthal began working with a bit of hyena femur and a stone tool some 60,000 years ago in what is now western France. The bone bore nine notches that were stunningly identical and almost parallel after the work was completed as if they were supposed to symbolize something.

An archaeologist from the University of Bordeaux in France, Francesco d’Errico, offers a theory concerning the markings. During his career, he has examined numerous antique carved objects, and he believes the hyena bone, discovered in the 1970s near Angoulême at Les Pradelles, stands out as exceptional. Although ancient carved artifacts are often interpreted as artworks, the Les Pradelles bone seems to have been more functional, says D’Errico.

Marks made on a hyena bone by a Neanderthal indicate that he may have recorded his numerical information. Photo: F. d'Errico
Marks made on a hyena bone by a Neanderthal indicate that he may have recorded his numerical information. Photo: F. d’Errico

He claims that it might be used to encrypt numerical data. And, if that’s the case, anatomically modern people may not have been the only ones to devise a system of numerical notation: Neanderthals might have begun to do so, too.

When D’Errico published his views in 2018, he was delving into the uncharted ground for scientists: the ancient foundations of numbers. The origin of numbers is now garnering increased attention as scholars from all areas approach the topic from various perspectives.

Researchers think that people cut notches into this baboon bone some 40,000 years ago as an early form of counting.Photo: F. d'Errico & L. Backwell
Researchers think that people cut notches into this baboon bone some 40,000 years ago as an early form of counting.Photo: F. d’Errico & L. Backwell

Cognitive scientists, anthropologists, and psychologists are studying modern civilizations to better understand the variations between current number systems, which are defined as the symbols that a civilization employs to count and manipulate numbers. Their goal is that hints hidden in current systems may provide information about their origins.

Meanwhile, archaeologists have been hunting for evidence of early numerical notations, and evolutionary scientists with an interest in language are investigating the deep roots of number words. These investigations prompted scholars to formulate some of the earliest precise explanations regarding the prehistoric evolution of number systems.

Furthermore, an increase in funding will encourage greater research in this field. This year, an international research team will begin testing several ideas with a €10 million (US$11.9 million) funding from the European Research Council as part of a larger effort to explore when, why, and how number systems arose and spread over the world. The project, called the Evolution of Cognitive Tools for Quantification (QUANTA), might even provide insights into whether number systems are unique to anatomically modern humans, or were conceivably present in nascent form in Neanderthals.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-01429-6

Source: Nature

Banner
Related Post

After 150 years, Schliemann’s destruction in Troy was repaired

8 August 2021

8 August 2021

Heinrich Schliemann, a German businessman, excavated the ancient city of Troy in northwest Canakkale province 150 years ago. Archaeologists are...

New insight into the history of human presence in Paveh county, Kermanshah province, which is located in western Iran

22 August 2021

22 August 2021

Stone tools and animal bones unearthed recently have thrown new insight into the history of human presence in Paveh county,...

Ancient Mythical Castle “Sörby Borg” Discovered on Swedish Island Creates Archaeological Sensation

4 August 2021

4 August 2021

A text from the early 18th century mentions the castle, which has become a bit of a legend. It has...

Arrowhead from the Biblical Battle Discovered in the Hometown of the Giant Goliath’s

30 May 2021

30 May 2021

A bone arrowhead discovered in the ancient Philistine city of Gath might have been used fired off by the city’s...

The Stolen Frescoes were Returned to the Pompeii Archaeological Park

20 May 2021

20 May 2021

Six frescoes ripped from the remains of ancient Roman villas years ago have been returned to the Pompeii archaeological site,...

3D printing technology was used for the restored relic restoration of an ancient palace in Liangzhu Archaeological Site

11 July 2021

11 July 2021

Six rebuilt massive wooden pillars of an old palace have been exposed to the public for the first time at...

Stone reliefs describing the Persian-Greek wars were found in the ancient city of Daskyleion in northwestern Turkey

16 August 2021

16 August 2021

A relief depicting a fifth-century BC battle between the Greeks and Persians was discovered in the ancient city of Dascylium...

Bronze age settlement found under in Swiss lake

23 April 2021

23 April 2021

For the first time, archaeologists discovered traces of a Bronze Age lakeside village beneath the surface of Lake Lucerne. The...

The oldest meerschaum artifact found in Anatolia; of Çavlum Seal

18 July 2021

18 July 2021

The stamp seal unearthed during the rescue excavations of Çavlum Village on the Eskişehir Alpu Plain is the oldest meerschaum...

“Human evolution” Migration out of Africa was affected by climate constraints.

25 August 2021

25 August 2021

The story of modern man’s migration from Africa still remains unclear in many aspects. Why did people migrate? Is it...

8,000-year-old Musical Instrument found in northwest Turkey

4 July 2021

4 July 2021

Archaeologists in northwestern Turkey’s Bilecik on Tuesday discovered a musical instrument that dates back to an estimated 8,000 years. During...

Medieval Ring with a Skull Emblem Found in Wales and The Gold Coins are Declared Treasure

11 April 2021

11 April 2021

Located in wales nine treasure finds dating from the medieval and post-medieval periods have been declared treasure. Metal detectors in...

Fingerprints Found on Orkney Pottery Belong to Young Men

14 June 2021

14 June 2021

Details of the two young guys whose fingerprints were discovered on a fragment of a clay pot dating back over...

1300-year-old stone sculpture from the ancient Turkish era found in Kazakhstan

3 August 2021

3 August 2021

A 1,300-year-old stone sculpture from the early Turkish period was discovered in Kazakhstan’s south, around 250 kilometers (155 miles) from...

Turkey to Present 12 Historic Artifacts to Istanbul Patriarch

10 August 2021

10 August 2021

The government said on Monday that Turkey will deliver stolen icons from ancient local churches to Istanbul’s Fener Greek Patriarch...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *