Neanderthals in modern-day Portugal hunted sea creatures 90,000 years in the past and used cooking strategies that gave them “significant nutritional advantages”, in accordance with a brand new study.
The analysis, printed Tuesday within the journal Frontiers in Environmental ArcheologyAnalyzed prehistoric deposits of shells and bones excavated in a cave south of present-day Lisbon.
In accordance with scientists together with Mariana Nabais from the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution, the outcomes of the study present additional proof that historical human ancestors were more than just cave dwellers.
“Our results put an additional nail in the coffin of the old notion that Neanderthals were primitive cave dwellers who could survive on barely caught large game carcasses,” mentioned Dr. Nabais mentioned.
Shells uncovered from undisturbed Stone Age deposits primarily characterize brown crabs, suggesting that these crustaceans were the seafood of alternative for human ancestors.
Discoveries point out that sea creatures were introduced all through the cave, the place they were roasted over coals and eaten, indicating that Neanderthals recurrently hunted giant brown crabs.
“They introduced them to swimming pools on a close-by rocky shore and focused the grownup animals with a imply shell [shell] width of 16 cm”, Dr Nabais defined.
The researchers additionally assessed put on and tear on the shells, in search of traces of flesh and whip marks, and famous whether or not the crabs had been uncovered to intense warmth.
Fracture patterns on the shells indicated that the animals were most likely butchered to acquire the meat.
In addition to harvesting the crabs, Neanderthals roasted them, as evidenced by black burns on the shells, which recommend that the crabs were heated to round 300–500 °C – typical of cooking.
This evaluation helped the researchers rule out the involvement of different predators, because the study discovered no traces of carnivores or rodents. The fracture patterns additionally didn’t point out chicken predation.
The scientists discovered that the massive crabs were largely adults, most likely yielding about 200 grams of meat.
Since crustaceans are evasive, archaeologists speculate that Neanderthals could have harvested such giant brown crabs from ponds at low tide in summer time.
The brand new outcomes, together with earlier proof that Neanderthals extensively consumed limpets, clams, clams and a variety of fish, debunk the notion that seafood performed a task in enhancing the cognitive skills of early trendy human populations in america. Consumption has performed an essential position. States sub-Saharan Africa performed, scientists mentioned.
Though it’s unknown why Neanderthals selected to reap crabs, the researchers mentioned that cooking and consuming the crustaceans would have supplied them with “significant nutritional benefits”.
“The notion that Neanderthals were apex carnivores depended on large steppe-tundra herbivores,” Dr. Nabais mentioned.
Such concepts could apply to some extent to Neanderthal populations in Ice Age periglacial belt Europe, however to not these residing within the southern peninsula – and it’s in these southern peninsulas that a lot of the continent’s people lived earlier than and in the course of the Paleolithic and later lived. Neanderthal,” he added.