Neandertal Diets Are More Similar to Modern Humans Than Scientists Originally Thought

Teeth

Discovery Helps Debunk Theory That Neandertals’ Extinction Was Caused By Dietary Deficiencies

December 27, 2010

Researchers from George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution have discovered evidence to debunk the theory that Neandertals’ disappearance was caused in part by a deficient diet – one that lacked variety and was overly reliant on meat. After discovering starch granules from plant food trapped in the dental calculus on 40-thousand-year-old Neandertal teeth, the scientists believe that Neandertals ate a wide variety of plants and included cooked grains as part of a more sophisticated, diverse diet similar to early modern humans.


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Starch grains of cooked barley

Neandertal teeth from Spy cave

Neandertal teeth from Shanidar cave

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