Skip to comments.Neandertals ate their veggies, their feces reveal
Posted on 06/28/2014 8:43:41 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Scientists excavating an archaeological site in southern Spain have finally gotten the real poop on Neandertals, finding that the Caveman Diet for these quintessential carnivores included substantial helpings of vegetables. Using the oldest published samples of human fecal matter, archaeologists have found the first direct evidence that Neandertals in Europe cooked and ate plants about 50,000 years ago...
...the team was able to detect the chemical byproducts created by bacteria in the gut in the digestion of cholesterol from meat, as well as sterols and stanols, which are lipids in plants that are similar to cholesterol. The tests revealed that the poop clearly contained high proportions of cholesterol and coprostanol from eating meat, but it also included significant plant sterols that unambiguously record the ingestion of plants, the researchers report today in PLOS ONE...
The team determined that the fecal samples were from humans because other mammals, such as wolves and lions, cannot convert cholesterol to coprostanol, as primates do when they eat meat. No other primate bones have been found at the site, which includes Neandertal tools and artifacts that date to a time before modern humans are known to have inhabited Europe. The fine shape and structure of the coprolites in the soil also resembled those of humans, and parasites in the samples also suggest they came from humans...
Paleobiologist Amanda Henry of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, would also like to see the researchers use DNA, parasite types unique to humans... However, the study is really exciting, says Henry, author of the earlier study of Neandertal dental plaque that showed that a Neandertal in Iraq ate plants. If they are correct, this is one more nail in the coffin for the idea that Neandertals were obligate carnivores.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.sciencemag.org ...
End result. These sediments at El Salt in Spain contain tiny coprolites with parasites, which may be the remains of ancient meals from Neandertals. [BERTILA GALVÁN]
Looks like a great weekly Digest ping as well. Have a great weekend, all.
The Neandertal Enigma"Frayer's own reading of the record reveals a number of overlooked traits that clearly and specifically link the Neandertals to the Cro-Magnons. One such trait is the shape of the opening of the nerve canal in the lower jaw, a spot where dentists often give a pain-blocking injection. In many Neandertal, the upper portion of the opening is covered by a broad bony ridge, a curious feature also carried by a significant number of Cro-Magnons. But none of the alleged 'ancestors of us all' fossils from Africa have it, and it is extremely rare in modern people outside Europe." [pp 126-127]
by James Shreeve
in local libraries
:’) I edited out the equal timey limey view.
Are you “logged” in?
What’s with all the fecal/poop posts these last few days? Who gives a $hit that people ate vegetables 80 million years ago?
It was a poor substitute for real bacon flavor.
I have a theory that the Neanderthal died out because they ran out of hickory to cure their bacon.
Actually, it revealed that Neanderthals mostly ate meat. But of course that goes against the grain of “Progressive” thought that tries to vilify meat because of animal methane byproducts that supposedly contribute to, gasp, GLOBAL WARMING, oops, I mean CLIMATE CHANGE, you know that earthly process that has been occurring unstoppably now for at least a billion years.
They managed a balanced diet by eating what was available-imagine that-apparently without interference from a Neanderthal Michelle, too...
Well one could say the article is crappy.
I wonder how many million$ the US Government donated for this study.
Todays Neanderthal duty thread. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s.
Ancient man ate what was available as you said.
Fruits, root vegetables and any animal he could kill.
Our genes are descended from that type of diet over a million years or more. Our genes do not tolerate a diet made up largely of pasta, breads & rice and hormone fed meat.
But the real reason diabetes and obesity is exploding is lack of exercise. Ancient man walked miles every day in search of food. Modern American drives to get his food.
I just see yours and one other in this topic.
The only meat that probably falls under the gathering side would be turtles. :’)
How about some percentages rather than "high proportions" and "significant"? The other articles I saw on this claimed this meant that most of the diet was meat with some plants. This article seems to imply a large amount of plants.
However, the study is really exciting, says Henry, author of the earlier study of Neandertal dental plaque that showed that a Neandertal in Iraq ate plants. If they are correct, this is one more nail in the coffin for the idea that Neandertals were obligate carnivores.
Obligate carnivores? Who could look at the teeth of a neanderthal or modern human and consider them "obligate carnivores". We have omnivores' teeth with a mixture of incisors, cuspids and molars unlike a cat's teeth. Also the typical view of early humans is as hunter/gatherers. The gatherers weren't just picking up meat... they gathered plants. And modern humans aren't able to produce certain chemicals they need which can only come from plants, and I expect that neanderthals were the same. Vitamin C comes at the top of that list.
It’s in their paper; the reason it has to be portrayed as a huge breakthrough is because of the rather bizarre anti-Neandertal bias and claims that started in the 19th c and persist (especially in England) today.
I always wanted to be an archaeologist!
Till I found out about coprolite.
Nevertheless, please put me on the GGG list...i need a little break form politics! :-)
You made a mistake, you brought me the food that my food eats, said some neanderthal.
Got my mail first time since the 25th or before. Thanks to a FReeper to be named later for the link to the PLOS paper underlying all this:
;’) Fewmet their end handling coprolites.
“Significant”, in a scientific study, generally means the results are above background noise and testing error. So, for example, if noise is 2 (whatever the represents) and error is 1, then a result of 4 or more would be significant but 3 or less would not be significant.
Why are some people like coprolites?
The older they get, the easier they are to pick up.
"Sedimentation MAY be the remains of ancient meals from Neanderthals".
Or, it could be ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL.
I generally enjoy scientific "speculation", and often times turns out correct.
But how many times has it turned out to be complete nonsense?
Does anyone else find the nearly ubiquitous use of “veggies” instead of “vegetables” to be annoyingly juvenile, especially in a reputedly scholarly article?
You expect better from professional spoorts.