The transition from the Middle Paleolithic (MP) to Upper Paleolithic
(UP) is marked by the replacement of late Neandertals
by modern humans in Europe between 50,000
and 40,000 y ago. Châtelperronian (CP) artifact assemblages found in
and northern Spain date to this time
period. So far, it is the only such assemblage type that has yielded
directly associated with UP style
artifacts. CP assemblages also include body ornaments, otherwise
virtually unknown in the
Neandertal world. However, it has been
argued that instead of the CP being manufactured by Neandertals, site
and layer admixture resulted in the chance
association of Neanderthal remains, CP assemblages, and body ornaments.
report a series of accelerator mass
spectrometry radiocarbon dates on ultrafiltered bone collagen extracted
from 40 well-preserved
bone fragments from the late Mousterian,
CP, and Protoaurignacian layers at the Grotte du Renne site (at
Our radiocarbon results are inconsistent
with the admixture hypothesis. Further, we report a direct date on the
CP skeleton from Saint-Césaire (France).
This date corroborates the assignment of CP assemblages to the latest
of western Europe. Importantly, our
results establish that the production of body ornaments in the CP
postdates the arrival
of modern humans in neighboring regions of
Europe. This new behavior could therefore have been the result of
from modern to Neandertal groups.
Finally, according to our results, the CP Neandertals of the Grotte du Renne, Saint-Césaire, and Les Cottés clearly postdate the earliest likely modern humans remains documented in western Europe (43) and largely overlap in time with the early Aurignacian in the Swabian area (44) and in southwestern France (42).
|Fig. S1. Geographical distribution of the Châtelperronian assemblages and location of the three main Châtelperronian sites discussed in the text.|
Hat tip to Linear Population Model.