Neanderthals ate dolphins

Every day more is known about them. Yes, at some time they lived with us. They are not everything primitive that is created. We even know that they were the first divers. Now we also know a little more about your diet. Sure, they weren't foodies, but they learned to hunt more animals than we imagined. For example, evidence was found of his diet from more than 80,000 years ago. Neanderthals ate dolphins, mussels, and seals and dolphins. An international research team discovered it. It was during an excavation in the Figueira Brava cave in Portugal. Only Homo Sapiens were thought to forage for food in the sea.

Pieces of clam Ruditapes decussatus, found on the site. They not only ate clams, but dolphins and seals as well.
Pieces of clam Ruditapes decussatus, found on the site. They not only ate clams, but dolphins and seals as well.

An island that is no longer

Dr. Dirk Hoffmann of the Department of Isotope Geology at the University of Göttingen set the dates. He reviewed the layers of flow stone (calcite deposits that form as stalagmites from dripping water). Using the uranium and thorium method, the age of the layers was set at 86,000 and 106,000 years. This means that the layers date back to the period when Neanderthals settled in Europe. The results of the study were published in the journal Science.

The Figueira Brava cave is located 30 kilometers south of Lisbon on the slopes of the Serra da Arrábida. Today it is located directly on the coast. But at that time it was two kilometers from the coast. The research team found that Neanderthals living there were able to harvest mussels and fish routinely. They also hunted seals. Their diet included mussels, shellfish, and fish. Neanderthals ate dolphins, waterfowl, and seals.

Fish was part of the Neanderthal diet.
Fish was part of the Neanderthal diet.
The benefits of eating fish

This consumption has always been suspected of increasing the cognitive abilities of human populations in Africa. This could explain the early emergence of a culture of modern people using symbolic artifacts. Like body painting with ocher or the use of ornaments. Even the decoration of containers made of ostrich eggs with geometric motifs, "Hoffmann explains in a statement. «It reflects the human capacity for abstract thought and communication through symbols. This contributed to the emergence of more organized and complex societies. "

What do these results demonstrate? Regular consumption of marine life is supposed to play an important role in the development of cognitive skills. So this was also true for Neanderthals. Hoffmann and his co-authors made other important previous discoveries. Like Neanderthals made cave paintings in three caves in the Iberian Peninsula more than 65,000 years ago. And that pierced and painted shells should also be attributed to Neanderthals.

We are increasingly certain that Neanderthals did not differ much from us. To some of the world's rulers, it seems rather the other way around. Perhaps a certain biological heritage remains there.

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