Controversial scholars of prehistoric religion and anthropology, James Harrod and Vincent W. Fallio, have recently proposed that religion and spirituality and art may have first arisen in Pre-Paleolithic chimpanzees or Early Lower Paleolithic (Oldowan) societies. According to Fallio, the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans experienced altered states of consciousness and partook in ritual, and ritual was used in their societies to strengthen social bonding and group cohesion.
Although Harrod and Fallio are interested in society bonding and such,does this still show spirituality was present as far back
as we can go----- and the question of shamanism maybe being seriously ancient in its origins.
There is some evidence of ritual among the Neanderthals in which a Shaman dresses as an animal by wearing the skin of the species involved.
At the 50,000-year-old site of Hortus in southern France, two French archaeologists in 1972 reported the discovery of the articulated bones of the left paw and tail of a leopard. Their arrangement suggested that the fragments were once the remnants of a complete leopard hide worn as a costume.
The arrangement was as if the individual was wearing a leopard skin cape. This is attested by several facts. The position of the paw indicate that the bones of the paw were left in the skin. The fact that a human skeleton was found without large parts of a leopard skeleton indicates that there was not a lot of leopard skeleton when the man was buried. There is no reason for leopard skeletal remains to decay faster than human remains. The teeth of a leopard are quite hard and resistant to decay and should have survived had they been there. They weren't. This implies that the only leopard bones in the burial were the paw and the small bones of the tail. Thus this appears to be a cape.
An animal cape is a symbol often used by shamans in their magic rituals.
The whole costume, which is worn only on official occasions, is modeled on the external appearance of a bird, reindeer or roebuck. It is made of deer or reindeer hide and hung with a large number of leather thongs, not to mention the diverse magical symbals characteristic of shamanic robes in general. Uno Harva lists many of these appurtenances: for instance twelve ermine pelts attached to a strap which hangs down the shaman's back, bells beneath his armpits, eagle owl's talons, snakes and iron hands on his sleeves, bear's foot bones on his footwear and iron bear's claws on his gloves and boots. Shamanic robes sometimes varied between different Altaic tribes.
The shaman's costume is essential to his performance and this garment is generally an animal disguise. This leads to the conclusion that depictions of men disguised as animals are very probably meant to represent shamans.
A team of Polish scientists said Monday they have discovered three Neanderthal teeth in a cave, a find they hope may shed light on how similar to modern humans our evolutionary cousins were.
Neanderthal artifacts have been unearthed in Poland before. But the teeth are the first bodily Neanderthal remains found in the country, according to Mikolaj Urbanowski, an archeologist with Szczecin University and the project's lead researcher.
Urbanowski said the teeth were unearthed in the Stajnia Cave, north of the Carpathian Mountains, along with flint tools and the bones of the woolly mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros, both extinct Ice Age species.
Urbanowski said that tooth has undergone the most analysis but the team is nearly certain the other two also belonged to Neanderthals who lived 100,000 to 80,000 years ago.
The placement of the teeth along with flint tools has led the team to hypothesize that the location could have been some kind of primitive burial site, which would point to a belief in the afterlife.
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