Meaning of CRO-MAGNON in English


population of anatomically modern Homo sapiens dating from the Upper Paleolithic Period (c. 35,000 to 10,000 years ago). In 1868 in a shallow cave at Cro-Magnon in the Dordogne area of southern France, a number of obviously ancient human skeletons were found. The cave was investigated by the French geologist Louis Lartet, who uncovered five archaeological layers. The human bones found in the topmost layer proved to be between 10,000 and 35,000 years old. The race of prehistoric humans revealed by this find was called Cro-Magnon and has since been considered, along with Neanderthals, to be representative of prehistoric humans at that time. Cro-Magnon was robustly built and powerful and is presumed to have been about 166 to 171 cm (about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches) tall. The features were generally heavy and solid. The forehead was straight, with slight browridges, the skull long and narrow, and the face short and wide. The brain capacity was about 1,600 cubic cm (100 cubic inches), somewhat larger than average for modern humans. Although further physical characteristics are difficult to evaluate because there are few remains from which to judge, it is thought that Cro-Magnons were probably fairly tall compared with other early human species. The musculature apparently was strong. It is still hard to say just where Cro-Magnon belongs in human evolution. This type is generally associated with the Aurignacian Tool Industry, which produced a variety of sophisticated tools such as retouched blade tools, end scrapers, nosed scrapers, the chisellike tool known as a burin, and fine bone tools. They also seem to have made tools for smoothing and scraping leather. Some Cro-Magnons have been associated with the Gravettian (or Upper Perigordian) Industry, which is characterized by an abrupt retouching technique that produces tools with flat backs. The dwellings are most often found in caves and shallow caves formed by rock overhangs, although primitive huts, either lean-tos against rock walls or those completely built from stones, have been found. The rock shelters were used year-round; the Cro-Magnons seem to have been a settled people, moving only when necessary to find new hunting or because of environmental changes. Like the Neanderthals, the Cro-Magnon people buried their dead. The first examples of art by prehistoric peoples are Cro-Magnon. The Cro-Magnons carved and sculpted small engravings, reliefs, and statuettes not only of humans but also of animals. Their human figures generally depicted large-breasted, wide-hipped, and, most often, obviously pregnant women, from which it is assumed that these figures had significance in fertility rites. Numerous depictions of animals are found in Cro-Magnon cave paintings throughout France and Spain, many of them surpassingly beautiful. It is thought that these paintings had some magic or ritual importance to the people. From the high quality of their art, it is clear that Cro-Magnons were not primitive amateurs but had previously experimented with artistic mediums and forms. Decorated tools and weapons show that they appreciated art for aesthetic purposes as well as for religious reasons. It is difficult to determine how long the Cro-Magnons lasted and what happened to them. Presumably they were gradually absorbed into the European populations that came later. Individuals with some Cro-Magnon characteristics, commonly called Cro-Magnoids, have been found in the Mesolithic Period (8000 to 5000 BC) and the Neolithic Period (5000 to 2000 BC).

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