Diet of Siberia’s Neanderthals Studied

Siberia NeanderthalVALENCIA, SPAIN—Neanderthals whose remains were recovered in Siberia’s Altai Mountains consumed large and medium-sized game and a wide range of plants, according to a statement released by Asociacion RUVID, the Network of Valencian Universities for the Promotion of Research, Development, and Innovation. An international team of scientists, including Robert Power of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Domingo Carlos Salazar García of the University of Valencia, Bence Viola of the University of Toronto, Amanda G. Henry of Leiden University, and Natalia Rudava of the Russian Academy of Science analyzed the chemical composition of 60,000-year-old Neanderthal bones from Chagyrskaya Cave, and identified microscopic plant particles in their dental calculus and in the soil where the remains were found. Previous genetic research indicates that Neanderthals colonized the Altai Mountains at least twice, but faced a constant risk of extinction. This new analysis of the Neanderthal diet suggests the hominins readily adapted to the Siberian environment, however. Other hominins in the region, such as the Denisovans, may have been a source of challenge, the researchers explained. Read the original scholarly article about this research in the Journal of Human Evolution. To read about new evidence that suggests Neanderthals intentionally buried their dead, go to “Around the World: France.”


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