The theory about early human beings being carnivorous has been challenged. If the latest studies are to be believed, Neanderthals indeed cooked for themselves and ate vegetables. This shows that they are closer to us and more like how we are than previously fathomed.
Scientists have found, in a study of their teeth, starch granules that arise from plant grains which has made them consider the possibility that early humans were not purely carnivorous as was thought until now. The theory that states that the reason why Neanderthals became extinct was because of their diet is out the window too.
The researches at the George Washington University and The Smithsonian Institute found that Neanderthals ate plants and cooked grains too, throwing light on the fact that their diet was much more diverse than believed until now and very much similar to early humans.
“Neanderthals are often portrayed as very backwards or primitive,” said the lead researcher and a post-doctoral researcher at the university, Amanda Henry.
“Now we are beginning to understand that they had some quite advanced technologies and behaviors.”
The starch granules discovered by the researchers through dental studies actually form when plaque hardens. Thus, they were present on the fossilized remains of the teeth of the Neanderthals. The skeletons were from caves in Iraq and Belgium known as the Shanidar Cave and Spy Cave respectively.
“Neanderthals and early humans did not visit the dentist,” said Dr. Allison Brooks, one of the researchers on the project. “Therefore, the calculus or tartar remained on their teeth, preserving tiny clues to the previously unknown plant portion of their diets.”