Hi, many thanks for your encouragement.
Just this week it was announced that a 420,000-year-old swan wing bone found at the cave site of Qesem near Tel Aviv in Israel was deliberately stripped of its feathers seemingly for use in ritual or shamanistic practices. The authors of a paper describing the find suggest that those responsible for the use of this bone were not just involved in animism and shamanism, but were also perhaps aware of cosmological notions. I havewritten an article on this subject which I will try and link here [www.ancient-origins.net]
The importance of mentioning this is not simply the fact that shamanism could be many hundreds of thousands of years older than we previously thought but also that those who were involved in these practices might well have been an early form of anatomical modern human, 100,000 years before we are thought to have emerged on to the scene. Teeth found at Qesem resemble those of Homo sapiens. They also resemble those of skulls found at near contemporary sites in the Levant, which are modern human in appearance with some Neanderthal features.
So who were these people. Homo erectus is ruled out, apparently. However, we cannot discount the possibility that they were linked in some manner with the Denisovans since we now know that the Denisovans bore modern human traits. Were the inhabitants of Qesem an early form of Denisovan?
Hopefully, more will be revealed in time.