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Palaeontology

Neanderthals dined on sharks and dolphins

March 28, 2020 | Comment icon 12 comments



Neanderthals were fans of seafood. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Paul Hudson / Flickr
New research has revealed that the Neanderthals were no stranger to catching and eating sea creatures.
The study, which was headed up by Dr Joao Zilhao from the University of Barcelona, focused on an excavation at Cueva de Figueira Brava in southern Portugal - a cave site that was home to populations of Neanderthals between 86,000 and 106,000 years ago.

The findings indicated that these prehistoric inhabitants dined on a diverse range of creatures caught along the coastline including mussels, crab, seabirds, seals, eels and even sharks and dolphins.

The researchers now believe that seafood made up approximately 50% of the diet of the Figueira Brava Neanderthals with the other half consisting of land animals such as deer, goats and cattle.
The find plays down the idea that modern humans exclusively benefited from the developmental advantages of consuming Omega3 and other fatty acids found in fish and other sea creatures.

Dr Zilhao's team also found middens - structures made from shell - at the site.

"They are important as they suggest a systematic and organized behavior, from collection to processing to discard," said Dr Matthew Pope from the Institute of Archaeology at UCL.

"In later periods across the world, coastal shell-hunter-gatherers seem to invest in these structures in monumental ways, even having burials within them."

Source: Phys.org | Comments (12)



Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
Many, many times many. 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
Harte and I are both under the opinion that Homo Erectus built rafts. Neanderthals could have easily picked up the ball from them.
Comment icon #5 Posted by DanL 2 years ago
I personally think that Neanderthal was a different RACE of human more than a different species. We have Neanderthal DNA in us still. That came from interbreeding and breeding between species does not offer viable fertile offspring. They, just like our ancestors from out of Africa were shaped and formed by their environment. Just as the short stocky and pale-skinned Eskimos differ from the tall dark and skinny Zulus in Africa but we are all nonetheless all humans and genetically much the same.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Trelane 2 years ago
It is really amazing how little we have really known of our ancient ancestors. It seems that a little more every day we find that they were far more intelligent and innovative they we have previously thought.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
"Race" is a human construct to divide ethnic groups by their genetic features. Genetic studies show we were a different species that have a common ancestor, then "back bred". Half of the offspring between us and the Neanderthal were probably sterile ( see:mules, Ligers, etc) which is one of the reasons they didn't leave a large genetic mark. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Alchopwn 2 years ago
Dude, be careful how you talk about gingers.  They get really angry.
Comment icon #9 Posted by XenoFish 2 years ago
Dang right we do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comment icon #10 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
Don't you actually have to have hair to be a true Ginger? 
Comment icon #11 Posted by XenoFish 2 years ago
I'm not bald, it just relocated.
Comment icon #12 Posted by DanL 2 years ago
My ginger ancestors in their longships were terrorizing all of the little people all over Europe for centuries. I understand the fear that still runs through so many people. My Dad married a German lady so I am the runt of the family at only 6' 2" I look more German than Scott/Viking but the blood of the clan MacLeod ran true in me and I have a beautiful red headed Granddaughter.


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