blades and flakes

After analyzing tools used by Neanderthals, British and American archaeologists say they were just as well-crafted as those used by our ancestors.

Flakes — wide-bodied stones used for cutting by Neanderthals and Homo sapiens — are just as useful, if not moreso, than narrow stone blades later favored by modern humans, who charged out of Africa 50,000 years ago and soon replaced their larger, hairier European forerunners.

“It’s not a better technology, it’s just a different technology,” said Metin Eren, a University of Exeter experimental archaeology student. […]

The superiority of blades has long been seen as evidence of human superiority. But according to Eren’s team, blades had only one advantage: they can be easily attached to shafts.

Wired Science: Neanderthals Not Dumb, but Made Dull Gadgets