Neanderthal ate shellfish - study

2011-09-15 14:54
Madrid - Neanderthal cavemen supped on shellfish on the Costa del Sol 150 000 years ago, punching a hole in the theory that modern humans alone ate brain-boosting seafood so long ago, a new study shows.

The discovery in a cave near Torremolinos in southern Spain was about 100 000 years older than the previous earliest evidence of Neanderthals consuming seafood, scientists said.

Researchers unearthed the evidence when examining stone tools and the remains of shells in the Bajondillo Cave, they said in a study published online in the Public Library of Science.

There, they discovered many charred shellfish - mostly mussel shells - left by Neanderthals. They were able to date the shells by radiocarbon testing to about 150 000 years ago.

That is "almost contemporaneous" to the earliest evidence of modern humans eating shellfish at Pinnacle Point in South Africa 164 000 years ago, said the study led by the University of Seville's Miguel Cortes Sanchez.

"This discovery makes the Bajondillo Cave the oldest record of this activity among Neanderthals, as the earliest evidence until now did not go back further than 50 000 years," said Francisco Jimenez Espejo, researcher at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), which was part of the study.

"Many researchers argue that eating shellfish is one of the behaviours that define modern humans and to a certain extent an adaptive advantage that allowed homo sapiens to expand," Espejo said.

"But this investigation shows that at the same time as homo sapiens in southern Africa, homo neanderthalensis in the southern Iberian peninsula used the same resources."

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    archaeology

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks more focused after Japan shock
Parisse to miss Italy's last clash
LIVE: New Zealand v Tonga
Ireland recall Toner, Healy for France
Traffic Alerts

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.