Nielsen, M, Langley, MC, Shipton, C and Kapitány, R (2020) Homo neanderthalensis and the evolutionary origins of ritual in Homo sapiens. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 375 (1805). -. ISSN 0080-4622

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There is a large, if disparate, body of archaeological literature discussing specific instantiations of symbolic material culture and the possibility of ritual practices in Neanderthal populations. Despite this attention, however, no single synthesis exists that draws upon cognitive, psychological and cultural evolutionary theories of ritual. Here, we review the evidence for ritual-practice among now-extinct Homo neanderthalensis, as well as the necessary cognitive pre-conditions for such behaviour, in order to explore the evolution of ritual in Homo sapiens. We suggest that the currently available archaeological evidence indicates that Neanderthals may have used 'ritualization' to increase the successful transmission of technical knowledge across generations-providing an explanation for the technological stability of the Middle Palaeolithic and attesting to a survival strategy differing from near-contemporary H. sapiens. This article is part of the theme issue 'Ritual renaissance: new insights into the most human of behaviours'.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information regarding copyrights etc. can be found at;
Uncontrolled Keywords: Neanderthal; cognitionover-imitation; Palaeolithic; symbolism; behaviour
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF173 Psychoanalysis
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2020 12:41
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2020 16:52

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