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TagMary Stiner

One of the stages of excavation

When Did Humans First Start Burying the Dead?

One of the things paleontologists look for is special care taken in the placement of the deceased's body

One thing that distinguishes humans from other life forms is that we understand death. Yes, all life forms evade threats to their well-being by a dizzying array of means. But only humans understand death as the inevitable and final reality for all mortal beings no matter what we do. In that sense, death is an abstraction. To grasp death as a finality requires higher order thinking skills. It takes small children a while to come to understand it, and usually only by degrees. Naturally, human paleontologists wonder, from what period do we have physical evidence that humans understood this abstraction? One complexity is that evidence of early humans is generally hit and miss. Thus, physical evidence is very unlikely in Read More ›