Neanderthals were anything but stupid. Researchers from TU Delft and Leiden have discovered that these primeval people used manganese dioxide to make fires in caves in France some 50,000 years ago. Manganese dioxide is a dark-coloured mineral which we knew Neanderthals used to decorate themselves with. However, the use of manganese dioxide to make fire is not known among modern-day hunters and gatherers. It is therefore a unique discovery that provides insight into the cognitive capabilities of Neanderthals, wrote the researchers in Scientific Reports at the end of February.