Ugg took aspirin?! - Perhaps ...

by LoveUniHateExams 8 Replies latest social current

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Interesting article in the Huff Post UK today - scientists in Australia have been studying the tooth enamel of Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis).

    From the article:

    Dr Laura Weyrich, author on the paper, said: “Genetic analysis of that DNA locked-up in plaque, represents a unique window into neanderthal lifestyle ― revealing new details of what they ate, what their health was like and how the environment impacted their behaviour.”

    ... neanderthals who lived in Spy Cave ate wooly rhinoceros and wild sheep ... those from the El Sidron cave ate a largely vegetarian diet of pine nuts, moss, mushrooms and tree bark.

    And perhaps the most interesting: one of these vegetarian subjects had a dental abscess on his jawbone, and a diarrhea-causing parasite, and was self medicating with poplar - a plant that contains salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin.


  • LongHairGal


    Textbooks have always pictured the Neanderthal as a brutish and unintelligent being. The "experts" are going to have to rewrite textbooks.

    I suppose evidence like this proves all the theories wrong. How stupid could they have been if they were able to use plants and herbal remedies?

    Also, humans are supposed to have some Neanderthal DNA. Our origins aren't what we think they are.

    This is a very interesting topic.

  • rebel8

    Very cool to learn more about our ancestors!

    Animals that self-medicate

  • LongHairGal

    REBEL 8:

    That's a great article! I still wonder, though, if Neanderthal is smarter than scientists imagine.

  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot


    Textbooks have always pictured the Neanderthal as a brutish and unintelligent being. The "experts" are going to have to rewrite textbooks.

    Actually, those text books are from a hundred years ago. Since the 1950s Paleoanthropologists started seeing Neandertals in a new light.

    They were still less intelligent than we were based on the conservative and unchanging tool set that they used versus our more sophisticated and constantly changing ones.

    And yes, their brains were bigger than ours but not in the right places.

    Neandertals had a sloping forehead above his thick brow ridges which meant he had less prefrontal lobes than us - critical to foresight and long range planning. We have a more domelike bubbly brain.

    They also had less cerebral cortex than we which meant lesser general intelligence.

    His brain volume exceeded ours because his skull was much longer than ours from front to back giving him an egg shaped skull compared to our bubbly one. That meant that they had more occipital lobes which are the visual center at the rear of the brain. This implies that they were more visually oriented than we, probably memorizing every nook and cranny of his territory.

    They also grew up faster than us with a 10 year old Neandertal being the equivalent of a 15 year old Homo Sapiens. This required more growth hormone creating a higher metabolism which would have a greater impact on his personality. They were probably more quick tempered than us.

    Simply a different species than ours.

    As for the interbreeding between them and us I suspect that it was Cro-Magnon males who mated with Neandertal females. This was probably the result of violence between our two species where the victorious Homo Sapiens took captive brides. Sound familiar?

  • Spoletta

    I recently read a fascinating online magazine article that tried to show a more realistic view of Neanderthals. They pointed out that one of the first reconstructions was done using the skeleton of an older, very arthritic individual That's why early models portrayed them as stooped and gnarly looking.

    Later models show them as very robust humans who could walk around in a suit or dress and be considered ugly but otherwise normal.

    Someone commented(and rightly so!) that they would have looked even better if the artists hadn't given them hair resembling the Troll dolls from the 70's.

  • LongHairGal


    Yeah, I had heard they were revising their view. And I'm sure it was Cro Magnon males going after Neanderthal women - I can't imagine a Cro Magnon woman wanting a Neanderthal male. YUCK.

    I also read somewhere that Neanderthals would be less verbal than Cro Magnon but that doesn't mean they weren't thinking. You're right that they were a slightly different species adapted for different things. Amazing.

  • Still Totally ADD
    Still Totally ADD

    Sorry Spoletta but troll dolls came out in the mid sixties. It was the thing to have when I was in the 5th grade. Getting back to the story I think it is great how they can get DNA from their teeth. For christmas I got a test. I am now waiting to see if I have any Neanderthal in my DNA. How cool would that be if I did, that would explain my bad grades I had in school. LOL. Still Totally ADD

  • Spoletta

    Still Totally ADD

    You're right. As a child of the 50's, the mid 60's to the 70's are kind of a blur for me.

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