Quirks and Quarks

Neanderthals Wore Jewelry 130,000 Years Ago

Neanderthals manufactured Eagle talons into jewelry.
Eagle talon jewelrey (Luka Mjeda)
A collection of white-tailed eagle talons, originally excavated from a Neanderthal archaeological site in Croatia over 100 years ago, have recently been found to have much greater significance than first thought.

Dr. David Frayer, an Archaeologist from the University of Kansas, re-examined the 8 talons and discovered cut-marks and evidence of polishing, created intentionally by Neanderthals, 130,000 years ago.

The talons - from at least 3 different eagles - were very likely strung together and worn as jewelry. This discovery suggests a sense of aesthetics not previously known in Neanderthals at this time - 80,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe.   

Related Links

Paper in PLOS One
- University of Kansas release
LiveScience story
Nature news story