About 100,000 years ago, Neanderthals lived on the territory of modern Europe and Central Asia. Some scholars consider them to be our distant (but not direct) ancestors and are constantly trying to figure out how their everyday lives have gone. At the moment it is known that the old people basically only tried to survive in those days – they looked for caves that were suitable for living, made spears and hunted animals. If much is already known about the Neanderthal houses and the methods of their hunting, their diet is still poorly understood. They often ate meat from large animals based on the remains found, but recently scientists have found that they also eat fish. But how did you catch her and how did she influence a varied meal?
Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) – extinct representatives of humanity who lived about 100,000 years ago. They were lower in growth than us and broad shoulders, and their life expectancy was about 20 years. Neanderthals are not the direct ancestors of man, because between us there was clearly another type of old person that has not yet been discovered.
Judging from the remains of scientists found hundreds of thousands of years ago, Neanderthals lived in caves in Italy, Portugal, and other nearby countries. Their houses were divided into three zones. The first was a kind of kitchen where the meat of slaughtered animals was cut and eaten. There was a campfire in the second zone – apparently old people were resting and sleeping there. The third zone was a workshop where wooden spears were made with stone points, axes and other tools that they needed in life.
An interesting fact: If Neanderthals could not find caves suitable for life, they could build shelters from the bones and skins of mammoths. And they often had to look for housing because they were constantly moving from one place to another.
Old people's hunt
Since the old people had spears and axes, they could hunt bulls, rhinos, mammoths, and even predatory lions and hyenas. However, since old people killed animals in close combat, they were seriously injured and even died. Their hunting grounds were open fields and impassable forests and mountains. Sometimes the elderly were lucky – they killed animals that ended up in holes and swamps. Their victims could not do them any particular harm and people only had to die to stuff their bodies with spears until they died.
Eating old people
Neanderthals were very intelligent, so they knew how to "cut" human flesh humanly. First they cut the skin of the killed animal with sharpened stones – they made warm clothes out of it. Then the meat was cut into pieces with stone knives to make it more convenient to eat. The meat was either eaten raw or fried and in most cases ate in a couple of sessions because the old people didn't know how to store it fresh.
Scientists used to doubt this, but lately there has been much evidence that Neanderthals also ate seafood such as fish, shellfish, and crabs. This is documented at least by an archaeological find on one of the coasts of Portugal. There, scientists managed to find many bones from various animals, including the remains of conch shells. Since this pile of garbage was created 86 to 106,000 years ago, scientists have suggested that it be abandoned by Neanderthals.
Such "rubbish heaps" that Neanderthals have left have a name – Kieckenmedings. They usually occur near water and are hills several meters high. Scientists often find the bones of wild boar, deer and even fish in this pile.
After examining the remains, researchers led by archaeologist Juan Zillan found that old people ate fish, seabirds, and even pine nuts. According to the scientific publication ScienceAlert, seafood made up almost half of the Neanderthal diet, which means they ate almost the same way we did. At least, this assumption is relevant to Neanderthals living in the area of modern Portugal.
Scientists have long suspected that Neanderthals could fish. As early as 1949, scientists examined the Italian cave at Moserini and found at least 167 shells with sharpened edges. Below them were shells with smooth surfaces, which is why the researchers decided that they were mined directly from the sea floor by old people. To do this, they allegedly had to dive to a depth of two to four meters where they could catch fish. They may also use ground spears to catch fish.
I wrote in this material about how old people swam. The results of the study revealed many interesting things about Neanderthals, so I strongly recommend reading them!
It is believed that if Neanderthals did not eat seafood, human development would take much longer. Scientists believe that the fatty acids contained in seafood have a positive effect on the brains of older people and gradually improve their mental abilities. It turns out that fish and other marine life indirectly affect the speed of human evolution.
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At the moment, we can only hope that scientists will be able to reveal further interesting facts about the diet of our distant ancestors. However, this will be quite difficult since the “garbage piles” of Neanderthals left near water are very rarely discovered by scientists. This is believed to be due to the fact that these accumulations of animal bones have simply been flushed into the seas and oceans for thousands of years.