The landmark discovery in Iraq of the skeleton of a 70,000-year-old Neanderthal has reignited a debate about whether these ancient humans were sophisticated enough to have burial rituals.

The old bones were unearthed at Shanidar Cave in Iraq, where the partial remains of 10 Neanderthal men, women and children were found during excavations in the 1950s and 1960s.

The skeleton is the first “articulated” Neanderthal remains to be found in two decades. An articulated skeleton find is one where the bones are still arranged in their original positions. Researchers say it offers an unparalleled opportunity to investigate the “mortuary practices” of the lost human species using the latest cutting-edge techniques.

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