London: Neanderthals may have lived side by side with early humans and possibly interbred with them, a new study has claimed.
Stone axes and sharp flint arrowheads of both branches of the human race have been discovered in limestone caves in northern Israel.
The findings have led archaeologists to believe that the two sub-species found harmony in a coastal mountain range that today is in a state of war with its neighbours.
None of the bones uncovered at Nahal Me’arot, which is a World Heritage site, had lethal wounds which suggested prehistoric men lived in peace with each other 80,000 years ago.
According to archaeologist Daniel Kaupman, neanderthals were much more sophisticated than they have been credited. They had their own burial rituals and probably language skills alongside their ability to make tools.
Kaupman believes that peaceful cross-breeding was more likely than the result of rape attacks.
“If that interbreeding did take place, it must have been here. To call someone a Neanderthal is insulting to the Neanderthal,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
The study has been reported in the Times.