For those interested in Neanderthals...

Hugh

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A new skeleton has been found in Iraq, in the same cave as the legendary "flower burial".

Here's the link:

And here are the first few lines:
Researchers have described the first "articulated" remains of a Neanderthal to be discovered in a decade.
An articulated skeleton is one where the bones are still arranged in their original positions.
The new specimen was uncovered at Shanidar Cave in Iraq and consists of the upper torso and crushed skull of a middle-aged to older adult.
Excavations at Shanidar in the 1950s and 60s unearthed partial remains of 10 Neanderthal men, women and children.
During these earlier excavations, archaeologists found that some of the burials were clustered together, with clumps of pollen surrounding one of the skeletons.
The researcher who led those original investigations, Ralph Solecki from Columbia University in New York, claimed it was evidence that Neanderthals had buried their dead with flowers.
 

Star-child

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The researcher who led those original investigations, Ralph Solecki from Columbia University in New York, claimed it was evidence that Neanderthals had buried their dead with flowers.
Which makes us think about them a certain way. But what if the flowers were just to cover the smell of decomposition?
 

BAYLOR

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Which makes us think about them a certain way. But what if the flowers were just to cover the smell of decomposition?

There has been some speculation that, Neanderthals may have had a belief in an afterlife.
 

Star-child

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There has been some speculation that, Neanderthals may have had a belief in an afterlife.
That's the "certain way" I was referring to. Flowers are a source of perfume, flavoring and pigments that have non-religious utlity.
 

-K2-

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Or, it may have been something more akin to a ceremony of honor, belief in an afterlife, or a belief in a higher power. Flowers aren't typically fragrant enough either initially or more so in very short order once they die to mask the scent of decay. Find some roadkill, get the most pleasently fragrant flowers you can think of, and cover it with them. Go back in three days and sniff.

Past that, flowers weren't the only burial artifacts they have found: NPR Choice page

K2
 

Star-child

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Or, it may have been something more akin to a ceremony of honor, belief in an afterlife, or a belief in a higher power. Flowers aren't typically fragrant enough either initially or more so in very short order once they die to mask the scent of decay. Find some roadkill, get the most pleasently fragrant flowers you can think of, and cover it with them. Go back in three days and sniff.

Past that, flowers weren't the only burial artifacts they have found: NPR Choice page

K2

So what you're saying is that the alternative to my suggestion of an alternative explanation to an afterlife belief is an afterlife belief?

Or maybe the flowers are a sign of an afterlife belief. Has anyone considered that? :LOL:
 

CupofJoe

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I don't think there is enough evidence for any definitive conclusion. But romantically I want them to be flowers left out of some form of respect.
These burials are in Iraq? That is and probably was a dry hot place. And given the right conditions there would probably be a certain amount of mummification after death. There seems to be no evidence of post death predation so the bodies are not easy to get to. And even if they were, and if there was a smell, why have the body somewhere you could smell it? From what I know decomposition usually doesn't smell too bad if there is any sort of breeze about if the conditions are dry [or utterly waterlogged]. It's the temperate damp and warm that makes it icky [highly technical term].
 

-K2-

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So what you're saying is that the alternative to my suggestion of an alternative explanation to an afterlife belief is an afterlife belief?

Or maybe the flowers are a sign of an afterlife belief. Has anyone considered that? :LOL:

Well, I onyxly don't believe the flowers were used to mask the scent of decay. That's the least likely possibility. So yes, I agree...the flowers are most likely part of a ceremony of honor, belief in an afterlife, or a belief in a higher power.

Well done, I think you've come up with a fine probability to consider. ;)

K2
 

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