Thursday 20 September 2012

Tarred and Feathered: An Early Thought About Neanderthals and Black Feathers

I must confess that the more I drill down into Finlayson et al. the less I know about the data upon which the authors have built their argument that Neanderthals used stone tools to remove feathers from birds, to be made into stoles, headdresses and various fashion accessories. 
     It's bad enough that their conclusions make me feel as if I'm on already on the other side of the looking glass. It's far worse that I fear I'm falling down the rabbit hole. Under the circumstances I believe it's incumbent upon me to make as thorough an attempt as possible to critically examine the unfortunately titled 'Birds of a Feather: Neanderthal Exploitation of Raptors and Corvids.' At least in this case [as opposed to, say, the chemical constituents of dental calculus] I think I have a fighting chance to acquit myself well. But it's going to take time. And time is at a premium here at World Headquarters.
     I'll be busily excavating the authors' data and trying to understand how they get from microscopically scratched bird bone to feather collection and from there to haute couture. In the meantime I suggest you have a look at the news ticker and find something interesting and non-controversial to amuse yourself with.
     I shall return.

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