Neanderthals’ Diet Also Included Seafood, According To A New Study

Proof of long-term and intensive exploitation of marine food resources has been recently detected at the Figueira Brava. Neanderthals had quite an odd yet intriguing food preference. They preferred to eat mussels, seals, or fish at a region in present-day Portugal, according to new research.

For extensive periods, the skill to find food in the rivers or sea was considered a unique thing to our species. Researchers discovered proof for long-term reliance on seafood at a Neanderthal site in the southern region of Portugal.

Neanderthals From Southern Portugal Relied on Seafood

Researchers found that the Neanderthals, who lived between 106,000 and 86,000 years ago were eating sharks, dolphins, seabirds, seals, eels, and much more. They lived at the Figueira Brava near Setubal. Dr. Joao Zilhao from the University of Barcelona has led the research team. They discovered that marine food represents almost 50 % of the food of the Figueira Brava Neanderthals. The other half includes the terrestrial animals, such as horses, tortoises, deer, and goats.

However, the most ancient proof of the marine resources modern exploitations is from approximately 160,000 years ago in the southern region of Africa. Some researchers displayed a theory that the brain-boosting fatty acids seafood enhanced the cognitive development in early modern humans. Such an approach also supports the period in which people were more creative, and their inventions flourished as innovative craftings. It might also aid modern humans to conquer other human groups such as the Denisovans and the Neanderthals.

The Neanderthals of the Figueira Brava relied on the rivers or sea as much as the modern humans from southern Africa did. Dr. Matthew Pope from the Insitute of Archaeology stated: “Zilhao and the team claim to have identified ‘middens.’ This is a shorthand for humanity created structures (piles, heaps, mounds) formed almost entirely of the shell.”

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