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Neanderthals had well-balanced diets

The prevailing image of neanderthals is that they were dim-witted hunters who only ate meat and berries. However, new findings suggest they had a well-balanced diet consisting of birds, fish and plants.

In addition to bones of deer, horses, cattle, rhinos and elephants, in Hardy’s analysis of 182 stone artifacts found there, he also found microscopic residues of fish scales, bird feathers and starchy plants. It remains uncertain what exactly those animals and plants might have been, although edible roots in the area included wild carrots and wild parsnips.

“It’s not surprising that they might have been able to exploit these resources, but it’s nice to have evidence,” Hardy said. “We’ve been reliant on an incomplete fossil record dominated by large animals, because those survive better over time. When we look more carefully and widely, we find that’s not the entire picture.”

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Story: Charles Q. Choi, LiveScience | Photo: NASA

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