Well, scientists have long found black chunks of manganese oxides at Neanderthal sites. Since they were often found with other colored minerals, scientists assumed they were used for body paint. But a new team of scientists suggests that these chunks were used as fire starters. They discovered scratch marks on blocks “suggesting [the manganese oxide] may have been scraped or ground to produce a powder.” This powder, sprinkled on wood, would have made an excellent fire starter. This study adds further support to the idea that Neanderthals started their own fires rather than just harnessing the flames of naturally occurring wildfires.
Neanderthals were humans just like us, with intelligence and ingenuity. But because they lived in a harsh world after the Flood and during the Ice Age, they simply used what was available around them to survive, just like many cultures do today. There’s no reason to believe that Neanderthals, or any other people group, were less human or less intelligent than we are. All humans are made in God’s image, descended from Adam and Eve. And the more we learn about ancient man, the more we see God’s Word confirmed.
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.