Frontiers in Psychology 12:702361 (2021)

Petar Gabrić
Philipps University of Marburg
Recently, we have witnessed an explosion of studies and discussions claiming that Neanderthals engaged in a range of “symbolic” behaviors, including personal ornament use (Radovčić et al., 2015), funerary practices (Balzeau et al., 2020), visual arts (Hoffmann et al., 2018), body aesthetics (Roebroeks et al., 2012), etc. In Paleolithic archaeology, it has become mainstream to axiomatically infer from these putative behaviors that Neanderthals engaged in symbol use and that Neanderthals thus possessed some form of language. Rudolf Botha's bombastic title "Neanderthal Language: Demystifying the Linguistic Powers of Our Extinct Cousins" provides a detailed and very critical overview of the archaeological hypotheses and speculations about Neanderthal language.
Keywords language evolution  Neanderthals  Paleolithic  Neanderthal language  cognitive archaeology
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DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.702361
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