Neanderthal diet more sophisticated than previously thought

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 By

Neanderthal

Neanderthal man ate more veggies than previously thought and easily saved money on his car insurance. Image: Okologix/Wikimedia Commons/PD

A recent discovery was made that is altering the view of the Neanderthal diet. Neanderthals, ancient relatives of modern humans, apparently cooked and ate vegetables quite often. Ancient humans and related species are not thoroughly understood, but diet gives incredible insight into daily life.

Eat like a Neanderthal with more veggies

It was recently discovered that the Neanderthal diet was far more sophisticated than some people think it might have been, according to USA Today. Analysis of Neanderthal remains from sites in Belgium and the Shanidar Cave in Iraq revealed vegetable matter stuck in the teeth. The leftovers were from cooked vegetables like legumes (beans, lentils, etc), date palms and grass seeds. Apparently, wheat grass shots were popular before civilization. The study by Amanda Henry, Alison Brooks and Dolores Piperno is being published through the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings challenge the notion that Neanderthal man was primarily a meat eater. Neanderthal, and other forerunners to modern man, are being found to be far more advanced than previously assumed.

Exciting times for paleoanthropologists

The field of paleoanthropology, or study of ancient man and the forerunners of modern humans, has been alight with some exciting discoveries lately. Recently, a site in Israel called the Qesem Cave yielded an incredibly exciting find: of a set of teeth. The teeth found at Qesem may date to 400,000 years ago, which is nearly twice as old as the oldest remains of homo sapiens. However, the find has yet to be verified as being from from the family homo sapiens or as belonging to homo sapiens sapiens — modern humans.

Neanderthals from an important evolutionary period

The world that Neanderthal and early man inhabited was far different from our own. Neanderthals, or Homo Neanderthalensis, were a relative of humans, though not strictly a lineal ancestor but more of a cousin of sorts. Discoveries such as these help us to understand better where our species came from and what life was like for those who preceded us.

Sources

USA Today

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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