Ancestor Series: Neanderthal
About the Ancestor series:
This is a series of works featuring human evolutionary ancestors and relatives. Our understanding of these species is heavily influenced by our perceptions of what it means to be human, and our desire for a narrative about our own spiritual history. Skulls become masks for myths in this series that features flora, fauna, and archaeological artifacts.
Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis):
Neanderthals lived between roughly 400,000 and 30,000 years ago, and co-existed with early humans in Europe and the Middle East. Neanderthals had brains that were as large or larger than modern humans, were stronger than humans, and generally well-adapted to their environment. Genetic evidence suggests they interbred with ancient humans and contributed to 1-4% of the modern human genome. Evidence of neanderthals carrying spiritual or symbolic beliefs have been found. Specifically, clothing and jewelry decorated in black feathers and corvid claws, along with burial sites with flowers. All of these claims are disputed.
Large Blue Arion (Phengaris arion):
A rare species of butterfly found in Europe and Asia. As a caterpillar, the Large Blue Arion approaches an ant colony and produces a special scent and sound, which tricks the ants into believing the caterpillar is one of their own. If all goes well, the ants take the caterpillar into the colony, caring for it and feeding it as it goes from caterpillar to chrysalis. Once the adult butterfly emerges from its chrysalis it releases a new odor and sound, the ants clear a path for the adult to exit, and the butterfly emerges from the ant colony unharmed.
Divje Babe Flute:
A controversial object that some experts claim is a flute, meaning that neanderthals not only played music but developed the oldest known instruments. The object itself is a cave bear femur with several holes along one side. Some experts believe the object is the result of an animal bite, or that the flute was actually made by Cro-Magnons (early Homo sapiens).