I love the John Hawks weblog! I really do. I've been avidly following it for some time now, and it just keeps getting better and better. Today, he picked up on something I'd never heard of, namely, a study of a cave where there are fossils that seem to show Neandertal-like characteristics in the "early Aurignacian" He goes into great detail about this, and what it might mean. He is very careful, as usual, in his interpretations. I have great respect for this,though I don't always agree with him about all his interpretations. But then, I don't fully agree with any paleoanthropologists or prehistoric archaeologists when it comes to Neandertals or other prehistoric humans, though I tend to agree with some more than others. I generally have little quarrel with Hawks. He also mentions other studies regarding this issue, and his posts are always useful, because he always has references at the end of his posts, just like any competent scientist would. Be that as it may, it's an interesting study, because it seems to show that (a) there could have been cultural and/or genetic exchange between Neandertals and "moderns" in the "Aurignacian" period and (b), it either shows that Neandertals made at least some "Aurignacian" style tools, or that they used them, or that they lived in close proximity to those who made them. It also shows that early "moderns" in Europe,at least,showed a wide variety of "modern" and "archaic" characteristics, which at the very least, points to a huge amount of physical variability in that population. Bear in mind that "Aurignacian" is a tool type, but it has been generally considered the province only of the earliest "moderns" in Europe. Maybe, maybe not. The study sounds interesting, and as usual, some of the possible themes here, are reflected in my Invaders trilogy. Ina way. But that's another story, as they say.