Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh, them Neandertal fish fries(or clambakes, or whatever)!

A lot of very interesting stuff has been emanating from Paleoanthropologyland  in recent weeks.  In the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of  Science, there is a whole series of "origins" articles, relating both to "modern" humans and Neandertals.  The nice part about this is, for those interested, the papers therein are free(they end up free, but on most of them, you have to wait a while), and you can download any pdf you like.  But the most interesting(at least to me) news, comes from, and deals with the kind of things Neandertals were apparently dining on -- 70,000 years ago!  And, -- gasp!  the Neandertals living in a cave in a place called El Salt, apparently ate fish, along with other things more commonly associated with them.  El Salt, as you might guess from what I've just revealed, is on or near the Spanish coast. 


It's true that, some 25,000 years ago, the very last Neandertals at Gibraltar, also dined on seafood, but at least up till now, it was thought they did this because they were "desperate", or something of the sort.  However, this find, and the fact that, apparently at a place in France called Grotte XVI, they also  ate fish from time to time, and not only that, but they appear to have smoked it, suggests that they made use of whatever resources they had at hand, as any good "generalized" forager/hunter/gatherer society would do.  True, the Neandertals at Grotte XVI lived later than the ones at El Salt, and somewhat inland, so they probably dined on trout or some other freshwater fish.  Still, the point is, none of them turned up their large pointy noses at such fare. Unfortunately, as usual, a lot of people have trouble believing these things, so there appears, even now, to be a certain amount of resistance and skepticism about this matter.  It also doesn't help that the original paper is in Spanish, unless you read Spanish well.  Equally unfortunately, I don't.  But it's quite possible that once more is published regarding this find, it will generate a fair amount of controversy.  Everything about Neandertals seems to do this, despite the fact, which should be more and more apparent to more and more people if they don't resist it, that Neandertals had basically the same kind of brains and the same range of responses to their surroundings, as "modern" humans do.  As I said, a lot of people still have trouble accepting this.  But Yours Truly will keep every interested party informed about any developments here.  It's going to get very, very interesting, I think.

Anne G

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