PDA

View Full Version : BBC News: New insight into secret lives of Neanderthals



Coriolan
09-03-17, 06:10
I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

New insight into secret lives of Neanderthals - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39205530

Neanderthals chew the bark of poplar trees to relieve toothache. It contains salicylic acid, the active ingredient of aspirin.

Analysis of their dental tartar showed that they regularly consumed the penicillin mould, an antibiotic, 40,000 years before Fleming rediscovered it.

The new study also looked into their diet. While Neanderthals from Belgium ate a lot of meat, those from Spain were almost vegan. That's a rather extreme difference in lifestyle when you think about it. Homo sapiens in all the world had more similar eating habits than two groups of West European Neanderthals!

stevenarmstrong
09-03-17, 06:36
Neanderthal was evolving for hundreds of thousands of years before modern homo sapiens arrived on the scene. There was far more genetic diversity between Spanish Neanderthal and Belgian Neanderthal then than there exists between modern human Spaniards and Belgians today. So it's not THAT surprising that the different genetic populations would have radically different habits and characteristics. Great share. Thanks!

LeBrok
09-03-17, 06:46
I was always guessing that they were omnivorous like us. This article sounds like written by vegetarian though. ;)

firetown
09-03-17, 12:41
What I don't understand is the need to generalize in terms of "behavior of the Neanderthals". Is it too hard to grant them the ability to be individualistic? Maybe some preferred a vegetarian diet while other Neanderthals were active and passionate hunters and primarily consumed meat.

ngc598
09-03-17, 16:48
Analysis of their dental tartar showed that they regularly consumed the penicillin mould
I wonder where he got his camembert from...

While Neanderthals from Belgium ate a lot of meat, those from Spain were almost vegan. That's a rather extreme difference in lifestyle when you think about it.
Not really surprising. There are several researches already dealing with this issue. Neanderthals were extremely dependent on their environment, Cro-magnons were not. The latter differ not by environment, but by culture epoch.

There is some idea that humans always preferred fruit and veggies because they are easier digestable and produce less putrefaction in the digestive tract. We don't have the acidity which carnivores usually have. But in ice-age times you can't be too picky. If nothing eatable grows in the northern regions of Europe you can't expect a vegetarian Neanderthal.

Cro-magnon probably were more skillful catching fish, storing and processing food and perhaps even were more adapted to eat wild pulses and grains. This makes the diet more flexible.

LeBrok
09-03-17, 17:33
What I don't understand is the need to generalize in terms of "behavior of the Neanderthals". Is it too hard to grant them the ability to be individualistic? Maybe some preferred a vegetarian diet while other Neanderthals were active and passionate hunters and primarily consumed meat.They also could have had a seasonal change of diet, to whatever is most plentiful at the moment. In summer and fall, they could consume more nuts, fruits and mushrooms for example.

Before penicillin, people used spider web mixed with bread to stick on wounds, or honey to cure faster, or put maggots inside big or difficult to cure wounds. All of these have antibacterial properties.

firetown
09-03-17, 18:08
I wonder where he got his camembert from...

Not really surprising. There are several researches already dealing with this issue. Neanderthals were extremely dependent on their environment, Cro-magnons were not. The latter differ not by environment, but by culture epoch.

There is some idea that humans always preferred fruit and veggies because they are easier digestable and produce less putrefaction in the digestive tract. We don't have the acidity which carnivores usually have. But in ice-age times you can't be too picky. If nothing eatable grows in the northern regions of Europe you can't expect a vegetarian Neanderthal.

Cro-magnon probably were more skillful catching fish, storing and processing food and perhaps even were more adapted to eat wild pulses and grains. This makes the diet more flexible.

Please clarify:
Are you saying that Neanderthals were more "flexible" than Cro Magnons?

firetown
10-03-17, 18:28
It is still undecided when exactly it was agreed upon that bloodletting would be a beneficial practice. It actually was very beneficial in some cases. In most it wasn't.


They also could have had a seasonal change of diet, to whatever is most plentiful at the moment. In summer and fall, they could consume more nuts, fruits and mushrooms for example.

Before penicillin, people used spider web mixed with bread to stick on wounds, or honey to cure faster, or put maggots inside big or difficult to cure wounds. All of these have antibacterial properties.

Angela
13-03-17, 17:38
The actual paper is behind a pay wall.

This is the link to the Supplement. You can also access the figures.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature21674.html#supplementary-information

firetown
28-05-17, 12:32
Here is a tiny bit more from researchgate:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314306629_Neanderthal_behaviour_diet_and_disease_i nferred_from_ancient_DNA_in_dental_calculus
There is also a download link for the full PDF in the top right hand corner.