An interesting rock from Krapina
Symbolic items are seldom associated with Neandertals and, when they are, many paleoanthropologists consider them to be Neandertal imitations from modern Homo sapiens. At the Croatian site of Krapina dated to MIS 5e or about 130,000 years ago, among many items, a split limestone rock was excavated by Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger between 1899-1905. This brownish rock reveals many dark dendritic forms in cross- and longitudinal section. Of more than 1000 lithic items at Krapina, none resemble this specimen and we propose it was collected and not further processed by the Neandertals because of its aesthetic attributes. Along with other examples from sites in western and central Europe and the recent discovery of eight modified white-tailed eagle talons from Krapina, this unique item suggests that Neandertals were capable, on their own, of incorporating symbolic objects into their culture.