Evolution and humans: Neanderthals loved sea food (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 26, 2020, 23:25 (1430 days ago) @ David Turell

Seems equal to sapiens:


"Surf’s up, Neandertals.

"Our close evolutionary cousins obtained shellfish, crabs, fish and other marine munchies along Europe’s Atlantic coast with all the savvy and gusto of ancient humans who foraged along southern Africa’s shoreline, say archaeologist João Zilhão of the University of Barcelona and his colleagues.

"Neandertals consumed a diverse menu of sea and land foods while occupying Figueira Brava cave, on Portugal’s coast, for extended periods between around 106,000 and 86,000 years ago, Zilhão’s group says. Excavations there show for the first time that Neandertals matched Stone Age Homo sapiens in their ability to exploit seafood rich in brain-enhancing fatty acids, the scientists report in the March 27 Science.


"..repeated bouts of Neandertal foraging at Figueira Brava over a roughly 20,000-year span point to coastal activity as extensive as that of H. sapiens who harvested shellfish at South Africa’s Pinnacle Point between 164,000 and 120,000 years ago, Zilhão says (SN: 7/29/11).

"Intensive shellfish collecting requires tracking of the tides and the seasons, “certainly one of the hallmarks of behavioral adaptability of early Neandertals [in Europe] and modern humans in South Africa,” says archaeologist Katerina Douka of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. She did not participate in the new study.

"Zilhão regards Neandertals as an ancient H. sapiens variant that developed in Europe and Asia, not a separate species as they are often portrayed. “The early H. sapiens of Europe, people whom we came to know as Neandertals, exploited marine resources at least as intensively as, if not more intensively than, [Stone Age] South Africans living in comparable habitats and circumstances,” he says.


"But archaeologist Manuel Will of the University of Tübingen in Germany disagrees. “The new study narrows the gap between H. sapiens and [Neandertals], but does not close it,” he writes in a commentary published in the same issue of Science.

"Taking into account nearly 60 coastal sites occupied either by Neandertals or H. sapiens between around 300,000 and 40,000 years ago, H. sapiens more intensively exploited coastal resources, Will says. For instance, shell beads, a demanding ornament to make, have mainly been found at H. sapiens sites."

Comment: Probably more sapiens than we previously thought.

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