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Neanderthal Shell Discovery Shows Cavemen Wore Makeup

First Posted: 03/18/2010 5:12 am Updated: 05/25/2011 3:10 pm

Scientists in the Murcia province of southern Spain have found evidence that neanderthals wore makeup, the BBC reports. Professor Joao Zilhao unearthed shells that were used to mix and preserve pigments and found lumps of yellow paint, which may have been used as foundation, and red powder, which may have been applied as blush.

Although black manganese sticks were once found in Africa, Zilhao is calling his discovery the first evidence of caveman cosmetics.

"The use of these complex recipes is new. It's more than body painting," he explained to the BBC.

However, Professor Chris Stringer, a palaeontologist at London's Natural History Museum said that the new information about neanderthals' makeup probably wouldn't change the widespread portrayal of early man's stupidity.

"It's very difficult to dislodge the brutish image from popular thinking. When football fans behave badly, or politicians advocate reactionary views, they are invariably called 'Neanderthal', and I can't see the tabloids changing their headlines any time soon," he said.

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Filed by Hilary Moss  |