Study finds Neanderthals ate their veggies

December 27, 2010
A wax figure representing a Neanderthal man on display at a museum. A US study on Monday found that Neanderthals, prehistoric cousins of humans, ate grains and vegetables as well as meat, cooking them over fire in the same way homo sapiens did.

A US study on Monday found that Neanderthals, prehistoric cousins of humans, ate grains and vegetables as well as meat, cooking them over fire in the same way homo sapiens did.

The new research published in the (PNAS) challenges a prevailing theory that Neanderthals' over reliance on meat contributed to their extinction around 30,000 years ago.

Researchers found from numerous plants, including a type of wild grass, as well as traces of roots and tubers, trapped in plaque buildup on fossilized Neanderthal teeth unearthed in northern Europe and Iraq.

Many of the particles "had undergone physical changes that matched experimentally-cooked , suggesting that controlled fire much like early modern humans," PNAS said in a statement.

Stone artifacts have not provided evidence that Neanderthals used tools to grind plants, suggesting they did not practice agriculture, but the new research indicates they cooked and prepared plants for eating, it said.

The squat, low-browed Neanderthals lived in parts of Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East for around 170,000 years but all evidence of them disappears some 28,000 years ago, their last known refuge being Gibraltar.

Why they died out is a matter of debate, because they co-existed alongside modern man.

The latest study was carried out by the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian natural history museum in Washington.

Explore further: Neanderthals wouldn't have eaten their sprouts either

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xznofile
5 / 5 (1) Dec 27, 2010
I'm wondering how they cooked grains in a fire w/o containers, goat stomachs maybe?
Husky
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2010
i believe in africa some tribes cook fish by making fire until the wood glows like charqoal then put out the flames and on the glowing remains and cover with a layer of sand to trap the heat so inbetween will cook but not burn, a goat stomach or likewise would further be usefull to keep small particulates like grain together and from sand polluting, coiuld very well be like thats how it happened
Mercury_01
3 / 5 (2) Dec 27, 2010
Grains can also be mashed and formed into a ball or a disk and cooked on a hot rock.
Shootist
3 / 5 (4) Dec 27, 2010
Tubers can be buried and the fire built above them. Or they might be pierced by green sticks and cooked like you would roast marshmellows.

Water can be boiled within a container made of leaves.

Flat rocks can be heated and vegetables and meat roasted/fried upon it. Unleavened bread may also be made using this method

Guess you were never a Boy Scout
OmRa
1 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2010
How did man know what foods were edible?
How do the animals know what plants were edible?
If it was done through trial and error, whole
species would die out.
kevinrtrs
2.7 / 5 (11) Dec 28, 2010
They look like humans, eat like humans, make tools like humans, make art and cosmetics like humans, procreate like humans, hunt like humans, think like humans. So what exactly makes them non-human?
BillFox
not rated yet Dec 28, 2010
How did man know what foods were edible?
How do the animals know what plants were edible?
If it was done through trial and error, whole
species would die out.


It is wonderful how the human body can so easily direct your desires and necesities, yet how little the average ignorant man can discern from such knowledge. With even the slightest sence of critical thinking, anyone would come to the conclusion that taste and smell are such critical aspects of every human that to simply ignore it makes you ignorant, and to not understand it would make you beyond stupid.
Skepticus
3 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2010
How did man know what foods were edible?
How do the animals know what plants were edible?
If it was done through trial and error, whole
species would die out.


Your logic only works if everyone in a tribe all take a bite of something at the same time, then another also all at the same time, and another...untill all fall down. Even so, human bodies are variable in reaction to chemicals, so not neccessarily all will die before they decided the stuff is lethal and tell others. We all know from the news of some freaks who are 6 times or more over BAC and still on their feet or driving, while others will be pushing up daisies from the same amount of alcohol.
wwqq
not rated yet Dec 28, 2010
I'm wondering how they cooked grains in a fire w/o containers, goat stomachs maybe?


There would seem to be many possibilities. Perhaps leather or some kind of sturdy leaf, that could hold the grains while they slowly cook at low temperature. Perhaps a flat slab of stone, on which foods can be placed and roasted. Perhaps pots hewn out of soapstone(which is soft enough to scratch with a finger nail). Perhaps the grains where still attached to the stem and chaff while being roasted.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (6) Dec 28, 2010
They look like humans
Not quite like modern humans. A different species of human
eat like humans
To some extent. There are differences in what they ate. Then again there are differences in what modern humans eat
make tools like humans
They didn't develop blade technology
make art and cosmetics like humans
No known art though they may have made some fairly crude beads AFTER meeting modern humans. No evidence for cosmetics
procreate like humans
We don't know their gestation time for instance nor whether the women went into heat like the rest primates except modern humans.
hunt like humans
For crude definitions of hunt. No atl-atl, no known missles of any kind
think like humans
The lack of art and technical advancement shows otherwise
So what exactly makes them non-human?
They are human IF they could interbreed and that is still an open question. They also went extinct 25,000 years ago. 4 times longer than you think the world existed.

Ethelred
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (11) Dec 28, 2010
We don't know their gestation time for instance nor whether the women went into heat like the rest primates except modern humans.
The farther away from the equator animals live, the more seasonal their reproduction becomes in order to give birth with maximum time for youngsters to grow before the next winter. If Neanderthals had begun to evolve in this direction then it would explain why they were replaced by the cromags. As they came into conflict the tropical cromags simply out-reproduced them, much like any invasive species.

An apt model for the reproductive warfare that the successful religions have used to conquer the world. And which they continue to use today at everyones peril.
Shootist
3 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2010
They look like humans, eat like humans, make tools like humans, make art and cosmetics like humans, procreate like humans, hunt like humans, think like humans. So what exactly makes them non-human?


What makes a Bonobo different from a Chimpanzee, an African (forest) Elephant different from an African (savanna) Elephant and those two different from an Indian Elephant? Should I go on?

It is one thing to be igner'nt; it is a completely different thing to be willfully ignorant.
baudrunner
4.6 / 5 (9) Dec 28, 2010
Neanderthals never went extinct. That guy in the picture looks like somebody I used to shoot pool with back in high school.
Ratfish
not rated yet Dec 28, 2010
Wow, this is a pretty big discovery. I was under the impression that neanderthals were in a constant state of ketosis and relied purely upon meat, offal, blood etc. for their nutrition. That they ate grain so long ago is also interesting.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 28, 2010
Wow, this is a pretty big discovery. I was under the impression that neanderthals were in a constant state of ketosis and relied purely upon meat, offal, blood etc. for their nutrition.
-You mean like Inuit? Eskimo? or Mongols?
deatopmg
1 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2010
"They look like humans, eat like humans, make tools like humans, make art and cosmetics like humans, procreate like humans, hunt like humans, think like humans. So what exactly makes them non-human?"

Their feet did not have arches like ours. No other other primate has an arch therefore, Neandertals were not humans neither was/is Gigantopithicus.

Consider the gradual disappearance of occidentals from the far east, e.g. Ainu in Japan and the 7 mountain tribes on Taiwan, when the slightly higher IQ Mongols expanded into SE Asia over the past ca. 20,000 yrs.
Skepticus
3 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2010
It is really tragic to see how an extinct relative of Homo Sapiens sapiens'lifestyles got really trashed by the extant victors, and the hopelessly poignant defending actions of sympathizers of the evolutionary's fallen genus. Does this illustrates anything of the glorious present day Homo Sapiens Sapiens's psyches-who are quick to assert their superiority, to confirm the axiom of "history is written by the victorious?. It does. If the axiom is true, then all humans histories, records are suspect, fornicated, sodomized and worth a pile of mammoth's crap.
panorama
5 / 5 (1) Dec 29, 2010
I'm wondering how they cooked grains in a fire w/o containers, goat stomachs maybe?

Mmmmm...Haggis à la Neanderthal.
Shootist
1 / 5 (1) Dec 29, 2010
It is really tragic to see how an extinct relative of Homo Sapiens sapiens'lifestyles got really trashed by the extant victors, and the hopelessly poignant defending actions of sympathizers of the evolutionary's fallen genus. Does this illustrates anything of the glorious present day Homo Sapiens Sapiens's psyches-who are quick to assert their superiority, to confirm the axiom of "history is written by the victorious?. It does. If the axiom is true, then all humans histories, records are suspect, fornicated, sodomized and worth a pile of mammoth's crap.


Your suggestions border on nihilism. Do you hate yourself? Your mother? Your father? Your fellow man?

Too sad.
sihaya
5 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2010
Their feet did not have arches like ours. No other other primate has an arch therefore, Neandertals were not humans neither was/is Gigantopithicus.

Consider the gradual disappearance of occidentals from the far east, e.g. Ainu in Japan and the 7 mountain tribes on Taiwan, when the slightly higher IQ Mongols expanded into SE Asia over the past ca. 20,000 yrs.


there's no reason to believe neanderthals were any less capable than us, let alone speculate on their IQ scores being lower (nevermind the problems with IQ scores in the first place).

no neanderthal characteristic is outside the range of modern morphological variability. the major hallmark for hominids is habitual bipedality and neanderthals shared 99.7% of the same genetics as us. they were most certainly human.

just a different kind of human.

interestingly they did have bigger brains than us.
snelson5871
5 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2010
the Neanderthal looks like Lou Ferrigno
Ratfish
not rated yet Dec 31, 2010
-You mean like Inuit? Eskimo? or Mongols?


None of those groups were 100% carnivorous as neanderthals were thought to be until just recently. It would be very difficult to support that brain size without carbohydrates, so this does make sense.
philosothink
not rated yet Jan 01, 2011
I think Neanderthals were bred out of existence, and absorbed into the gene pool. I question the wisdom of artists renderings of them being dark skinned and dark eyed. Why are northern Europeans fair skinned and blue eyed? I think it's because of the interbreeding with the Neanderthals. I think the reason "asians" look different is because they interbred with the Denisovans... the "out of africa" theory combined with interbreeding explains things, in my opinion.

Too many people are hopped up on special feelings of superiority... we're just some talking apes on a backwater planet at the podunk edge of an average galaxy... get over yourselves people.
jscroft
1 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2011
I'm wondering how they cooked grains in a fire w/o containers, goat stomachs maybe?

Mmmmm...Haggis a la Neanderthal.


Holy smokes, I think you're on to something there! For those of you who insist that Neanderthals never invented art, I present Scotch Whiskey.

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