Sunday , May 16 2021

Neanderthagic faces were at risk, but our ancestors did so



NEWYDD YORK (AP) – Neanderthal life was not a picnic, but a new analysis says it was no more dangerous than what our own species faces in the old time.

That's challenging what the authors are originally calling on our evolving cousin, that they live dangerous and stressful lives. Some studies have suggested that they have had high injury rates, which were blamed on issues such as social violence, butchers' attacks, a hunting style that had to go close to large prey, and the dangers of extensive travel in environments; full of snow and ice.

Although their lives are likely to be more dangerous than people in industrial societies today, the totally different living conditions of those two groups do not really compare them, says Katerina Harvati from the University of Vineingen in Germany.

A better question is whether Neanderthalaic was more at risk than our species when we shared similar environments and similar lifestyles of mobile collectors, and with authors saying in a paper released on Wednesday by the magazine Nature .

To study that, they focus on skull injuries. Previous studies of fossils from western Eurasia were reviewed which ranged from around 80,000 to 20,000 years. In each, they assessed data on 295 skull samples of 114 individual Neanderthales, and 541 skull samples of 90 species of our species, Homo sapiens.

Both types of injuries appear to be roughly the same.

That questioned the idea that Neanderthal behavior creates special levels of danger, which Marta Mirazon Lahr University of Cambridge wrote in an accompanying commentary.

But the new study is not the last word on Neanderthal's trauma, she wrote. It did not contain injuries other than a skull. And scientists have enough work to do to find out the likely cause of injuries and evidence of caring for the injured, which could look at Neanderthalian behavior and the ancient members of our species.

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Follow Malcolm Ritter at @MalcolmRitter

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The Department of Health and Associated Press Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Department. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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