Neanderthals wore make-up

BRISTOL, England, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Evidence that Neanderthals wore body paint dispels the idea they were "half-wits," a British archaeologist said.

Shells coated with residue of mixed color pigments were found at two archaeological sites in southern Spain's Murcia province.


The shells were found with lumps of a yellow pigment and a red powder mixed with flecks of a reflective black mineral, said Joao Zilhao, who teaches archaeology at Bristol University.

The sculpted colored shells may have been worn as jewelry and the pigments used as make-up and body paint 50,000 years ago, Zilhao said in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings show Neanderthals were capable of symbolic thinking and were not "half-wits," Zilhao told the BBC in a story published Monday.

"To me, it's the smoking gun that kills the argument once and for all," Zilhao said.

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