Our Neanderthal cousins apparently picked their knuckles off the ground long enough to dabble in makeup and baubles, leading researchers to suggest they were no less intelligent than our direct ancestors at the same time in history. Newly unearthed evidence of 50,000-year-old jewelry and even makeup in a cave in Spain along with earlier, similar finds shows that European Neanderthals were just as a creative as early modern humans in Africa. “It shows a symbolic dimension in behavior,” the lead researcher tells the Guardian.
Along with what appears to be a piece of a shell necklace, archaeologists found a dark, sparkly pigment, what they think “was some kind of glitter or makeup.” The powder “makes no sense unless it was used as a body cosmetic,” he continues, putting Neanderthals on par with documented early human activity. “Whether that means that the Neanderthals were as smart as early modern humans or that early modern humans were as stupid as Neanderthals depends on how you look at the past.”