Neanderthals caught and roasted crabs to eat them

in Popular STEM2 months ago (edited)

(Charles R. Knight / Wikimedia Commons

Paleozoologists and archaeologists from Portugal led by Mariana Nabias examined the remains of marine animals found in the Figueira Brava cave.

The team from the University of Lisbon found that more than 86 thousand years ago, the Neanderthals who lived in this parking lot ate crabs.

They caught fairly large individuals about two kilometers from the cave, brought them back and roasted the prey on coals and ate them.

Neanderthals are traditionally considered specialized hunters of large herbivorous mammals: mammoths and rhinos, wild bulls, and elephants.

But recently there has been evidence that in reality the diet of Neanderthals was more diverse.

For example, sometimes they resorted to cannibalism, as it is suggested by evidence found in the Spanish cave of El Sidron and on the Croatian monument of Krapina.

Other studies also showed that Neanderthals from different regions ate plant foods, such as pistachios and beans.

There are also a few sites associated with Neanderthals, on which archaeologists have found evidence of eating marine products.

Among them stands out the Portuguese cave of Figueira Brava, located about 30 kilometers from Lisbon.

The excavations of this monument made it possible to identify four phases of the stay of the Neanderthals, which in total cover the period from 106 to 86 thousand years ago.

In addition to stone artifacts, charcoal and pine nut shells, researchers have found the remains of various animals:

  • ungulates
  • birds
  • marine mammals
  • fish
  • mollusks
  • crustaceans

Nabias and her colleagues explored the findings from the Figueira Brava cave, focusing on the remains of marine animals.

Scientists came to the conclusion that some of the finds come from mixed deposits.

Thus, sea urchins and several species of crabs seem to have ended up in the cave as early as the Holocene, after which they were moved to deeper layers by burrowing animals.

However, a significant part of the remains of crabs was found in situ, and mainly in the layers of sediments belonging to the last phase of the presence of the Neanderthals.

(Mariana Nabias et al. / Frontiers in Environmental Archaeology, 2023

The most representative species was the large land crab (Cancer pagurus), in addition, among the finds were the remains of Maja squinada.

On 8.41% of the remains, scientists noticed traces of fire, and, judging by the black color, with rare exceptions, the crabs were not exposed to very high temperatures.

There were no teeth marks of carnivores or rodents on them, notches from tools, but there were traces of blows.

According to scientists, large land crabs from the Pleistocene deposits are mainly represented by adult males, whose average weight was 800 grams.

According to them, more than 86 thousand years ago, Neanderthals caught these animals about two kilometers from the cave, where the coastline passed at that time.

After that, they took them to the lot, roasted them on coals and ate them. From one 800-gram crab, ancient people received about 200 grams of meat.

The materials from the Figueira Brava cave represent the first known example of eating crab, dating back to the Middle Paleolithic.

(Mariana Nabias et al. / Frontiers in Environmental Archaeology, 2023


Wanna save your links for later?
Try this new tool:

#science #neanderthal #food #portugal #crabs #news #nftmc

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.21
TRX 0.07
JST 0.027
BTC 28376.50
ETH 1815.85
USDT 1.00
SBD 2.78