Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption Museum reconstruction of a Neanderthal New data suggests that our evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals were diving under the ocean for clams.It adds to mounting evidence that the old picture of these ancient people as brutish and unimaginative is wrong.Until now, there had been little clear evidence that Neanderthals…

Museum reconstruction of a Neanderthal

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Science Issue Library

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Museum reconstruction of a Neanderthal

Unusual facts means that our evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals were diving underneath the ocean for clams.

It adds to mounting proof that the old characterize of these former folks as brutish and dumb is irascible.

Till now, there had been cramped particular proof that Neanderthals were swimmers.

Nonetheless a team of researchers who analysed shells from a collapse Italy talked about that some need to were gathered from the seafloor by Neanderthals.

The findings were published in the journal Plos One.

The Neanderthals dwelling at Grotta dei Moscerini in the Latium blueprint around 90,000 years ago were shaping the clam shells into interesting tools.

Paolo Villa, from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and colleagues, analysed 171 such tools, which all came from an area species of mollusc called the tender clam (Callista chione). The tools were excavated by archaeologists at the cease of the 1940s.

Clam shells that wash up on beaches is also worthy from those that are peaceable dwell when they’re gathered.

The beached specimens were opaque, sanded down by device of being knocked in opposition to pebbles on the shore, perforated by other marine organisms and encrusted with barnacles.

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Plos One

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Neanderthals former shells from the tender clam, Callista chione, to invent tools

Many of the specimens at Grotta dei Moscerini fit the elements of shells that were peaceful on a seaside.

Nonetheless one quarter of them had a vivid tender exterior, showing no indicators of such wear and drag. This urged they were peaceful from the seafloor whereas the clams were alive.

On the present time, Callista chione is most in most cases fished by dredging, the usage of puny boats, or gathered by scuba divers in waters off the Adriatic flit which also can very successfully be more than 10m intensive.

In the northern segment of the Adriatic, however, there are some sand banks where Callista clams is also peaceful at depths of around a metre.

“It is somewhat imaginable that the Neanderthals were gathering shells as a long way down as two to four metres,” talked about Paola Villa. “Pointless to dispute, they did now not bear scuba gear.”

Dr Matt Pope, from UCL, who became as soon as no longer alive to with the glance, instructed BBC Recordsdata: “We are able to all attain up with unheard of scenarios where, one day of a storm match clams derive thrown up on a seaside.

“Alternatively it be the truth they occur at plenty of [archaeological] unit, it be the truth they occur as segment of a system of topic materials being introduced further into this cave, that means there may be more than appropriate a single, weird match going on.”

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Plos One

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The clam shells is also former to invent thin, interesting tools

The proof is in stark difference to our old search for of the Neanderthals spending important of their time chasing or scavenging extensive sport animals.

It is identified that Neanderthals gathered mussels from estuaries and fished in shallow waters, but there became as soon as cramped particular proof for swimming or skin-diving.

“It is more proof to blueprint Neanderthals into these coastal environments and at functions in time making order of coastal sources, no longer appropriate for meals, but additionally as a raw topic materials for tools,” talked about Dr Pope.

He talked about that decades ago, this vogue of resource-gathering had been former to indicate apart early examples of our have species, Homo sapiens, from the Neanderthals. “We are able to no longer fetch that distinction to any extent further,” he talked about.

“What’s effective about this paper is that it covers a dwelling which at particular functions in time, ought to you bear obtained excessive sea ranges… is appropriate on the flit. It is most likely you’ll perhaps perhaps be ready to glimpse that they’re no longer dwelling there in effective numbers for lengthy durations of time. it seems esteem they’re making immediate journeys and they’re coming geared up – bringing materials that they’ll need, akin to pre-present tools.”

“Perchance it be a blueprint where they camp seasonally, at particular cases of the year. Perchance one of many things that’s drawing them there are these shellfish, which also can very successfully be magnificent things to be ingesting by device of the iciness when there may be rarely always somewhat just a few other accurate meals around.”

Final year, a team led by Prof Erik Trinkaus from Washington University in St Louis, US, published proof showing that many Neanderthals suffered from a scientific situation called “surfer’s ear”.

This situation is characterised by odd bony growths that appear in the ear canal. It is in most cases seen in those that lift segment in aquatic sports in wintry climates, however it will occur merely attributable to repeated exposure to wintry, wet climate.

On the time the paper became as soon as launched, there were solutions Neanderthals may maybe perhaps bear obtained it from drowsing on chilly, damp cave flooring.

“The archaeological proof from Moscerini helps the foundation of frequent aquatic resource exploitation in step with anatomical facts,” Paola Villa and colleagues write in the latest paper.

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