Printer Friendly

Neandertals' tough Stone Age lives.

Neandertals that 43,000 years ago inhabited what's now northern Spain faced periodic food shortages and possibly resorted to cannibalism to survive, according to a new investigation.

These Neandertals evolved shorter, broader faces with a less pronounced slope than northern European Neandertals did, say Antonio Rosas of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid and his colleagues.

Since 2000, the researchers have recovered more than 1,300 Neandertal bones and teeth from an underground-cave system known as El Sidron. The fossils come from at least eight individuals, including one infant, one child, two adolescents, and four young adults.

Close examination of the ancient teeth revealed disturbances of enamel formation, especially in tile children and teens, that Rosas and his coworkers attribute to near starvation. The team reports its results online for an upcoming Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Furthermore, skulls and limb bones at El Sidron display cut marks suggestive of butchering and show crushed areas, presumably where brains and marrow were removed during cannibalism, the scientists say.

In another analysis, they compared three Neandertal jaws from the site with jaws from 32 Neandertals and 23 modern Homosapiens previously found at Stone Age sites throughout Europe and western Asia. Reconstructions of the lower faces indicate that Neandertals evolved into northern and southern varieties, the team claims.--B.B.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:ANTHROPOLOGY
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 16, 2006
Words:221
Previous Article:South African find gets younger.
Next Article:Happy fish?


Related Articles
Giving Neandertals their due: similarities with modern humans shift the image of the caveman brute.
Ancient DNA enters humanity's heritage. (Stone Age Genetics).
DNA puts Neandertals on edge of human ancestry.
Humanity's strange face: Stone Age skull stokes debate over what it takes to be human.
Stone age ear for speech: ancient finds sound off on roots of language.
Living long in the tooth: grandparents may have rocked late Stone Age.
In the Neandertal mind: our evolutionary comrades celebrated vaunted intellects before meeting a memorable demise.
Neandertals take out their small blades.
Variety spices up Neandertals' DNA.
Ancient gene yield: new methods retrieve Neandertals' DNA.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters