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Neanderthals believed in the afterlife

The discovery of three Neanderthal graves in Spain is raising questions about whether they believed in an afterlife.

The deceased appear to have been intentionally buried, with each Neanderthal’s arms folded such that the hands were close to the head. Remains of other Neanderthals have been found in this position, suggesting that it held meaning.

Neanderthals therefore may have conducted burials and possessed symbolic thought before modern humans had these abilities. The site, Sima de las Palomas in Murcia, Southeast Spain, may also be the first known Neanderthal burial ground of Mediterranean Europe.

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Story: Jennifer Viegas | Photo: Corbis

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