More than half of the diet of European Neanderthals came from fish, shellfish and seals. This conclusion was made by scientists from the University of Barcelona, according to the journal Science.
For a long time it was believed that Neanderthals were inferior to other types of early people in their development – supposedly they had no culture, they could not speak, make fire and hunt with anything other than their own hands.
However, four years ago, a group of archaeologists found necklaces from the claws of birds of prey made by Neanderthals in the Krapiva cave on the territory of Croatia, and in northern Spain, samples of Neanderthal cave paintings. In addition, they found that Neanderthals collected stones, brewed medicinal decoctions and painted abstract tattoos.
In a new cave of Figueira Brava, which is located 30 km from Lisbon, scientists discovered a lot of shells of various bivalve mollusks, as well as fragments of crab shells, shark bones, eels and many other large marine fish. Part of the shells was chopped by tools. Also among the bones were found the remains of fur seals, dolphins, penguins and other waterfowl and mammals.
“According to one of the popular theories of the origin of mankind, the accelerated development of the brain and the unique intellectual abilities of Homo sapiens may be associated with the use of seafood rich in fish oil. We have shown that if this was indeed so, then all of humanity received similar advantages, and not just Cro-Magnons”.
Professor of the University of Barcelona, Juan Ziljan
The amount of marine animals consumed by Neanderthals is approximately similar to that of other species of ancient people, scientists say. This means that the Neanderthals were hardly inferior to the Cro-Magnons in the level of intellectual, cultural and technological development.