Hot on the heels of the news just in of the 'Red Deer Cave people' found in China, (see here:
come further exciting discoveries in the Chipping Norton area of England. It seems that some kind of mix of the previously known Homo Etoniensis lived side by side with the Murdocherthals and Homo Metropolitanus. At one time, it was thought that these were three distinct species but bit by bit experts are unravelling a fascinating story of sharing, intermingling and support. From faint marks found on some of the finds, it's been possible to ascertain that all three peoples took part in a ritual involving scratching. It seems to have worked on the principle that if one person scratched another's back, that person scratched the first one in return.
Of great interest are what appear to be tokens of some kind - perhaps currency - which seems to have passed between all three peoples in some kind of offering or giving of services.
Aside from this, what is particularly exciting the experts is that it was previously thought that Homo Etoniensis (young male) was known for bizarre rituals, wearing of outlandish body-covering and being sick on them, avoided all contact with other early humans but now it looks as if they were especially keen to make contact with the Murdocherthals who in turn seem to have lavished tokens on Homo Metropolitianus. Apart from anything else this requires a complete revision of how Homo Etoniensis should be viewed. Far from being an aloof, clannish type, he should be seen as quite literally getting down and dirty with the other two. This confirms some people that it would be simpler to regard all three as variants within the species Tory.
Exciting times from the world of archaeology.