Monday, May 21, 2012

Le Moustier, Levallois, If only we had a Lafleur!

Guy Lafleur knew a bit about Neanderthals. Why?
Le Moustier, Levallois et Lafleur! It sounds like the scoring line for Les Habs or for my personal favorites of the defunct and/or relocated, the Quebec Nordiques. But, we're not really here to talk about Le Démon Blond or the old stomping grounds of Dale Hunter long before he moved to Washington and destroyed my hopes of Lord Stanley resting in Washington during '93. Those double overtime games were my favorite sporting events that I've ever attended on a completely unrelated note. And since we're not here to talk about such things, we're going to solely focus on Le Moustier and Levallois, specifically the Levallois technique. Let's be honest and speak frankly the sole thing that Guy Lafleur and these other two topics have in common are their French names. In my head I'm butchering the pronunciations and imagining discussing them over a baguette and wheel of camembert. And now I'm remembering Dale Hunter's cheap shot on Pierre Turgeon and how it ripped the Stanley Cup from my beloved Caps.

Le Moustier is the site from whence the name Mousterian comes from. For those of you who have listened to the podcasts you can find more information about the Mousterian culture in Episode 2, the Paleolithic. (Click on the episode tab and check out episode 2, or subscribe on iTunes.) The Mousterian Culture though was basically the tool making culture that nearly every European Neanderthal who ever lived came out of. A few of the last Neanderthals tried to make adjustments, but they were sadly too late. The Neanderthals would go extinct shortly after the supplanting of the Mousterian Culture. Maybe advancement hit the cliche of promoting someone to the point of incompetency when it came to Neanderthal existence.

Guy Lafleur knew about the
Neanderthals because he had
to deal with Clark Gillies. The
goon is from a town called
Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw! It
even sounds Neanderthalish
But the Mousterian Culture wouldn't have been what it was without the use of the Levallois technique. The Levallois technique was a major advancement to stone tool technology. Rather than simply chip away at a piece of flint until the desired shape was achieved, a sloppy and rather imprecise technique known simply as reduction, the Levallois technique would create a tortoise shell appearance on the whole of the flint. Then it would focus on some of the middle and make deeper indentions so that a small and exact amount of flint could be removed to create a precision tool. This allowed the Neanderthals to be much better skilled hunters than their predecessors.

So on that note we'll leave Le Moustier and Levallois and list a number of Montreal Canadiens Legends that have French sounding names in a shameless attempt to garner Google traffic. Maurice Richard (exaggerate it to sound like Ree-char), Jean Beliveau, Jacques Plante, Guy Lapointe et Patrick Roy (wah). Pour toujours, les Canadiens! Adieu!

Oh, and before anyone points out that the Caps would have a long way to go in the playoffs and that the Islanders (who beat the Caps in 7 after Hunter's stupid move in game 6) didn't win it all, let me say this. You can't disrupt my fantasy world.

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