Via Courtesy of Abel Grau/Comunicación CSIC
Via Courtesy of Abel Grau/Comunicación CSIC


Researchers are learning more about Neanderthal diets and lifestyles from dental plaques…

Now, it’s no surprise that Neanderthals didn’t brush their teeth. Nor did they go to the dentist.

That means bits of food and the microbes in their mouths just stayed stuck to their teeth. While not so good for dental hygiene, these dental plaques are a great resource for scientists interested in understanding more about Neanderthal diet and lifestyle…

“Most Neanderthals that had been analyzed [before] were really heavy meat eaters,” says Laura Weyrich, at the Australian Center for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and the lead author on the new study. She says those previous studies had suggested that “Neanderthals were as carnivorous as polar bears.”

And this is where the new study offered a big surprise. According to the DNA in dental plaques, the Neanderthals in Spain ate no meat at all.

Read on at The Salt.



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