The golden eagle is an incredibly majestic bird of prey. It has been held in high esteem by every civilization of man, with both Romans and Greeks believing it was a messenger of the Gods. New information suggests that it was not just man who was fond of the incredible bird but Neanderthals too.
The golden eagle is one of the most common birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. It has a wingspan of 2.2 meters and so is an incredible sight to watch gliding through the air or diving for prey. Today the eagles are used as hunting birds by the hill dwellers of Mongolia. The birds are like a close companion to the hunters living with a hunter for up to 10 years at a time. The rest of us tend to just stop and stare if we are ever lucky enough to spot one.
The same is true throughout civilization, golden eagles have always been an amazing sight and held in high regard. New evidence now shows that Neanderthals felt the same and we may have adopted their behavior. The remains of golden eagles have been found in 26 Neanderthal sites. While you may assume it was just used as a source of food, the details tell a different story.
Anthropologists found small cuts on the wing bones, where there is little meat. This suggests that the feathers were being carefully extracted with another use in mind. The same was found at the eagle’s foot bones suggesting the talons were also being used for a higher purpose. While no jewelry was found made from any feathers or talons of the golden eagle, some were found from the white-tailed eagle. This shows that Neanderthals were making jewelry thousands of years before humans arrived. It is likely that humans learned this behavior from the Neanderthals.