Neanderthal Behavior TraitsThe fascinating world of Neanderthal diet

The fascinating world of Neanderthal diet  The Neanderthals represent the richest, healthiest and most studied species in hominin a record other than our own. And thanks to the wealth of available specimens — including their remains, tools, garbage and many other traces of their activities — scientists assemble their picture basic behaviorgradually.

From the Neanderthal’s unique diet to its advanced language and communication skills, the picture they paint is far from primitive. In fact, although Neanderthals were a solitary species before they went extinct, sticking to themselves and a few close companions, they were also accomplished and adaptable, with behavioral traits that allowed them to withstand some of the coldest conditions. that the world has ever seen.

Read more: How humans survived the ice age

Among their most adaptive behaviors are acquiring food, making tools, and articulating ideas through speech and symbols.

Where did Neanderthals live?

In the terrains of Africa approx 400,000 years ago (or maybe as much 800,000 years ago), an ancient hominin population began to split, forever changing the course of human history. While one part of this population stayed put, the other headed to Europe and settled there, ushering in a period of geographic isolation in which the two groups accumulated their own genetic traits graduallygeneration after generation.

Read more: Who were the Neanderthals?

Over time, the two groups evolved into two separate species, with Homo sapiens occurring in Africa and Homo neanderthalensis appearing in Europe. And it was there that these so-called Neanderthals would struggle with the incredibly cold conditions of the Ice Age, adaptation to temperatures by becoming shorter, broader and with a larger brain.

What were the behavioral traits of the Neanderthals?

Armed with these adaptations, Neanderthals thrived for thousands of years, creating an extensive record of their activities during this time. And more than passing on their genetic material to the genomes of many modern individualsthey also left many material traces of their lives, allowing archaeologists and anthropologists to speculate about their behavior.

In general, scientists suspect that Neanderthals behaved in isolation, in isolation, although they showed adaptability and intelligence in several areas. Targeting a seasonal range of predators, they made and manipulated a range of tools and probably produced simple speech. Not only that, but they also engaged in symbolic behavior, engaging in art, personal adornment, and ritual burials, according to some scholars.

Read more: Debunking the Myth of Homo Sapiens Supremacy

Neanderthal society

Archaeologists tend to agree that Neanderthals lived in open settlements or hid from the cold in caves, Cycling through several separate settlements According to time of year. In these sites they usually lived together 12 to 25 relatives.

Although these tribes generally kept to themselves, they were not completely isolated. Studies suggest that they probably interacted with 10 to 20 neighboring soldiers, and sometimes as many as 50, with whom they shared a social identity and maintained associations for mating, production, and collective coping in times of distress.

However, the social organization of these tribes is still in the shadows some genetic studies state that females chased mates in neighboring troops in an attempt to avoid inbreeding. And while some sites show the telltale signs of treatment for the sick and wounded, so also appear traces of intraspecific violence, implying a complexity of social interaction that is similar to our own.

Neanderthal diet

Anatomically, Neanderthals were omnivores, although scientists suspect they consumed more meat than plants, thanks to the reduced availability of flora in their cold climate. Actually, on chemical composition of several Neanderthal skeletons substantiates this, showing scientists that the average Neanderthal diet consisted of meat, meat, and more meat (with the addition of plant material only occasionally).

Read more: Neanderthals were probably carnivores according to a fossilized tooth

As such, Neanderthals played the role of apex predator, targeting species according to seasons. Chewing on reindeer in winter and red deer in summer, Neanderthals also ate bison, mammoths and wild boars – among other animals – although they were not always so widespread.

Lovers of taste, Neanderthals used a range of tricks to make their meals tastier. pounding, crushing and boiling their food on fire before consumption. Anyway archaeologists are not absolutely sure whether the Neanderthals produced these fires myselfspecies often manipulated flames, according to the heaps of ashes in many of their settlements.

Neanderthal language

Some scientists say that the complexity of these tools testifies to the keen observational abilities of the Neanderthals, while others think that their toolkit was also specialized to share and distribute without words or sentences. However, whether or not Neanderthal language was necessary to make and manipulate these tools, studies demonstrate a shared neurological basis for tool and speech production.

After all, while scientists still struggling to determine the features of the Neanderthal language and speech, anatomical and genetic analyzes show that they possessed hearing and speech abilities similar to ours.

Neanderthal rituals

Neanderthals were not limited by verbal communication. Whether they spoke or not, archaeologists speculate that they also articulated symbolicallycreating a material culture of art and decoration.

Scratching the walls of their caves with spots, cuts and more abstractions and sprinkle them with paints and pigmentsso did Neanderthals decorated myself with beads, bones and shells and collected a range of unusual items such as crystals and animal skullswho hid in their settlements.

Read more: Neanderthals may have used animal skulls as decoration

Some scientists add that the Neanderthal’s tendency to they deliberately bury their dead it also represents their symbolic thinking. And although there is no single burial that can be universally interpreted as an example of symbolism, the analysis of pollen particles in some places it suggests that Neanderthals did it decorate their dead with flowers, such as yarrow and bachelor buttonbefore the funeral.

Neanderthal tools

One of the clearest signs of their intelligence, Neanderthal tool making centered around the creation of complex stone flakes (although they have created tools from others materialsalso). To form these flakes, the innovative Neanderthal chose a small lump of rock and struck pieces from the side until it took the shape of a shell—flat on one side and spherical on the other. They then smashed the top of the stone several times, cutting off a series of similar sized ones sliceswhich they then used as tools.

Neanderthals used some of these flakes without any added modification, although they turned some into points, spears, scrapers, awls, and axes—among the types of tools—for a wider assortment of applications.

For example, although they traction or threw their stone-tipped spears into their prey, they chose scrapers and awls to prepare and punch holes in the skins, which they then tied together with torn animal tissue to create a simple form of clothing.

What happened to the Neanderthals?

For all their advanced behaviors, Neanderthals maintained small populations it made them more susceptible to obstacles such as climate change and competition.

Read more: Why did the Neanderthals disappear?

In fact, even though it is popular theory that the Neanderthals were wiped out about 40,000 years ago when their close cousins ​​from Africa—our own species—began to flow into their European territories, there is little in the archaeological record to show that the Neanderthals became extinct solely because of interspecies violence .

Instead, a combination of factors likely played a role in the extinction of the species, with a small population size, diseasesdeterioration weather conditions and interspecies competition and assimilationall contributing to their extinction in different areas and times.

These findings challenge previous views of this species as primitive creatures. Understanding their unique ability for language and their sophisticated use of tools to support their diet underscores the importance of continued research and excavation of archaeological sites.

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