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Neanderthal dental tartar reveals medicine

neanderthal medicinal plants

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#1    questionmark

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 07:31 PM

New Scientist said:


The tartar on Neanderthal teeth has a tale to tell. The chemicals and food fragments it contains reveal that our close relations huddled around fires to cook and consume plants – including some with medicinal properties. The find is the earliest direct evidence of self-medication in prehistory.
Despite their reputed taste for flesh, we now know that at least some Neanderthals enjoyed a more varied diet. The latest evidence comes from an analysis of 50,000-year-old Neanderthal teeth from the El Sidrón site in northern Spain.
Karen Hardy at ICREA, the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona, working with Stephen Buckley at the University of York, UK, and colleagues, used a scalpel to scrape tartar off the teeth of five Neanderthals. They chemically analysed some of the tartar samples, and examined others using an electron microscope.

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#2    ThickasaBrick

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 12:36 PM

Modern primates self-medicate so this is interesting, but not very surprising. Nice find regardless!


#3    DeathRain2012

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 01:35 PM

Ill bet they even shaved their faces and cut there hair in particular hair styles. Decorated their homes, and did brilliant works of art. I love how we think we know something. But me, I need to know something.


#4    csspwns

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:56 AM

no tats probably more modern. 20,000 BC probably?


#5    Englishgent

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:12 AM

If Neanderthals consumed lots of plants, then it goes without saying that some of these plants would contain certain medicinal properties.
What we dont know is this:-
Did they eat them knowing the plants had medicinal properties?
Or did they eat them just because they tasted nice!.  :)


#6    marcos anthony toledo

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:44 AM

Another Neanderthal were not stupid story they were as intelligent as us. They were us proved again ehhic group possibably.


#7    Paracelse

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:55 AM

View PostEnglishgent, on 20 July 2012 - 02:12 AM, said:

If Neanderthals consumed lots of plants, then it goes without saying that some of these plants would contain certain medicinal properties.
What we dont know is this:-
Did they eat them knowing the plants had medicinal properties?
Or did they eat them just because they tasted nice!.  :)

Did you read the entire article?  Methink not since:

Quote

The microscope revealed cracked starch granules, which suggests the Neanderthals roasted plants before eating them. More evidence for the importance of fire was found in the chemicals within the tartar: there were aromatic hydrocarbons and phenols, which are associated with wood smoke.
Unexpectedly, there were few lipids or proteins in the tartar, suggesting the Neanderthals of El Sidrón ate little meat. However, one Neanderthal consumed yarrow, a natural astringent, and camomile, an anti-inflammatory.


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#8    Super-Fly

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:29 PM

Tidy,

what does this mean for us though?


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#9    Englishgent

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:58 PM

View PostParacelse, on 20 July 2012 - 11:55 AM, said:

Did you read the entire article?  Methink not since:

I dont see that reading the article or not makes the slightest bit of difference.  So they roasted them. Perhaps to make them taste better. It is still not evidence that they were aware of the medicinal properties.  On the other hand, there should be no reason why, after thousands of years existance, that they did not discover the fact that eating a certain plant would relieve them of a headache.
Anyway, what I posted initially was tongue in cheek, although there is a certain merit in what was I said. :)


edit,,,typo

Edited by Englishgent, 20 July 2012 - 02:59 PM.


#10    Paracelse

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 03:32 PM

View PostEnglishgent, on 20 July 2012 - 02:58 PM, said:

I dont see that reading the article or not makes the slightest bit of difference.  So they roasted them. Perhaps to make them taste better. It is still not evidence that they were aware of the medicinal properties.  On the other hand, there should be no reason why, after thousands of years existance, that they did not discover the fact that eating a certain plant would relieve them of a headache.
Anyway, what I posted initially was tongue in cheek, although there is a certain merit in what was I said. :)


edit,,,typo

Yarrow is apply raw to wounds and cuts so if they happen in the mouth, yarrow would leaves traces whereas camomile is infused so there are big differences in the way of using it.  I do practice herbal medicine for myself and I just happen to know that neither of those herbs is particularly tasty.

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#11    Englishgent

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 04:03 AM

View PostParacelse, on 20 July 2012 - 03:32 PM, said:

Yarrow is apply raw to wounds and cuts so if they happen in the mouth, yarrow would leaves traces whereas camomile is infused so there are big differences in the way of using it.  I do practice herbal medicine for myself and I just happen to know that neither of those herbs is particularly tasty.

I bow to your superior knowledge regarding herbal medicine Paraclese, but the text does read as follows.

''However, one Neanderthal consumed yarrow, a natural astringent, and camomile, an anti-inflammatory.''


#12    Paracelse

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 05:18 AM

View PostEnglishgent, on 21 July 2012 - 04:03 AM, said:

I bow to your superior knowledge regarding herbal medicine Paraclese, but the text does read as follows.

''However, one Neanderthal consumed yarrow, a natural astringent, and camomile, an anti-inflammatory.''

If you cook yarrow it wont astringe (word made up by yours truly) and eating raw camomime it won't anti-inflamme..  so yeah Neanderthal was smarter than previoulsly thought

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#13    27vet

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 06:07 PM

Do they have enough Neanderthal DNA to clone one? I'm sure I read somewhere that they have quite a lot.


#14    Paracelse

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 06:16 PM

View Post27vet, on 22 July 2012 - 06:07 PM, said:

Do they have enough Neanderthal DNA to clone one? I'm sure I read somewhere that they have quite a lot.
And then one, keep it in zoo and earn beaucoup cash??? I don't think it would be a good idea.  If Neanderthal vanished, lets not play dog and bring him back.

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#15    27vet

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:02 AM

Would it qualify as an animal though? Maybe we should start on mammoths.





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