Neanderthal Dental Plaque Reveals Vegetarian Diet

Posted: Mar 9 2017, 7:31am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Neanderthal Dental Plaque Reveals Vegetarian Diet
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  • Scientists discover the Real Paleo Diet that Neanderthals Ate in the Past
  • Neanderthals Were Vegetarians
 

Scientists have discovered the real Paleo diet that our Neanderthal ancestors ate in the prehistoric past. It consisted of (among other things) wild mushrooms, pine nuts and moss.

Neanderthal fossils have given researchers hints as to the diet these ancient hominids followed. The sites were searched in Europe and new facts concerning the lifestyle of the Neanderthals emerged from digging a little deeper.

Within the past half a decade or so, genomic analysis of the remains have really opened up a cornucopia of information regarding the Neanderthals. The study concerning this was published in the journal Nature recently. 

The diet of the Neanderthals who occupied the El Sidron site in Upper Spain is worth pondering over by us moderns. Genetic samples taken from the teeth bones of these forms of early man show us that their nutritional patterns were basic and simple on a natural level.

They mostly ate mushrooms growing in the wilderness. Also pine nuts not to mention moss formed a fundamental part of their diet. Strangely there has been no evidence that shows that they consumed any flesh of animals. This is quite in contrast to another hominid sample obtained from Belgium.

This sample (from an ancient individual labeled Spy II) of dental plaque shows that the person hunted and ate rhinoceros and mouflon. Also fossil remains of other herbivores were found near the camp site of this unique individual.  

While it had been thought until now that Neanderthals were carnivores, the evidence that has been dredged from the past shows that such is not the case at all. These primitive men ate a variety of plant matter. Some of these plants may have undergone cooking before being consumed. Another food item these Neanderthals ate was the western balsam-poplar. 

There have even been instances (as reconstructed from the fossil record) where the Neanderthals took to self-medication. The Neanderthals tried to heal their ailments which included among other maladies such things as dental abscesses.

Besides fungi, bark, shoots and roots were used in the quest to end pain and discomfort due to disease. Plant materials containing an acid that is a crucial part of medications were especially used.

Even camomile and yarrow were used to prevent indigestion. There was a prehistorical nexus when the exchange of microorganisms between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens took place.

The grotto at El Sidron contains valuable fossil remains of Neanderthals. Many more surprises will be come our way from a greater analysis of these fossil remains.  

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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