Neanderthals May Have Sailed to Crete
Neanderthals, or even older Homo erectus (“Upright Man”) might have sailed around the Mediterranean, stopping at islands such as Crete and Cyprus, new evidence suggests. The evidence suggests that these hominid species had considerable seafaring and cognitive skills.
“They had to have had boats of some sort; unlikely they swam,” said Alan Simmons, lead author of a study about the find in the journal Science. “Many of the islands had no land-bridges, thus they must have had the cognitive ability to both build boats and know how to navigate them.” On Crete, for example, tools such as quartz hand-axes, picks and cleavers are associated with deposits that may date to 170,000 years ago. Previously, this island, as well as Cyprus, was thought to have first been colonized about 9,000 years ago by late Neolithic agriculturalists with domesticated resources.