Neanderthals treated themselves… with aspirin?
A study of plaque from the remains of Neanderthals living in Europe some 50,000 years ago has led scientists to a surprising conclusion. It appears that our distant relatives had basic medical knowledge.
The international teamół scientistów from Australia’s University of Adelaide and the University of Liverpool examined the remains of five Neanderthalsów found in areas of present-day Belgium and Spain. Researchers focused on plaque studies to determine the diet and eating habits of peoples’ów inhabiting Europe before the appearance of Homo sapiens.
A whole range of information can be found on the plaque. From the microbeów from the oral cavity, through gastrointestinal and respiratory pathogens, to food traces. Through analysis of the collected data, the researchers determined what life was like for Neanderthalsów, what their diet was like and what they were sick with.
On the teeth of the remainsóIn osób found in Belgium found rhino DNAóin hairy and wild sheep, suggesting that these animals landed on the „plates” Neanderthalów. In contrast, those living in Spain tended to be on a vegetarian diet. They were eating nuts or mushrooms.
The remains of one of the Neanderthalów found in Spain suggest that he was sickly. He suffered from a perianal abscess and had a parasite of the digestive system, whichóry causes diarrhea. The results of DNA analysis of its plaque indicate that it was treated with poplar bark, whichóra contains antibólic and anti-inflammatory salicylic acid – a component of today’s aspirin. What’s more, traces of mold have also been found on his teeth, with której is currently producing an antibiotic – penicillin.
– A very different picture of Neanderthals emerges from our studyów. It wasn’t uncultured cavemen running around the woods with mace – said the headówn study author Dr. Laura Weyrich. – They seem to have understood what food could do for their bodiesów – she added.
It turns out that we know very little about Neanderthals. Their knowledge of natural medicine may surprise you. They didn’t know exactly what cured them, but they knew what they needed to eat to e.g. relieve ból. Of course, the researchers’ conclusions do not exclude the case of. It is possible that a given individual móhead eat a moldy fruit or bite a branch of a poplar tree.
Sourceóbackground: Nature. Photo. Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSIC / press materials