BEACON TRANSCRIPT – According to a newly released study, the Neanderthals did not leave behind those weak, injured, or deformed, as research results suggest that they actually had a social support system that helped them.
The so-called Shanidar 1 are the remains of a Neanderthal determined to have been debilitated but also to have still lived to a respectable age in a very dangerous epoch.
The Social Support System of the Neanderthals Did Not Exclude Those with Deformities
Shanidar 1 was discovered back in 1957 in the Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan. The remains were dated to have been around 50,000 years old and to have belonged to a 40 something years old Neanderthal man. This lived to a more than respectable age for that period and was also debilitated.
Studies indicated that he suffered multiple injuries as the remains presented fractures, a serious blow to the head, injuries to a leg, the “amputation of the right arm at the elbow”, and a systematic degenerative condition. Besides this, they also found that Shanidar 1 was deaf.
French National Centre for Scientific Research scientists are behind this new study that reinforced these claims. The researchers found that, besides his various deformities, his deafness would have been one of the major impediments of Shanidar 1.
A closer look at what would have been its ears revealed bony growths in the ear canals. These most likely lead to a profound hearing loss, which in that time, and without help, would have probably meant almost instant death. However, this wasn’t the case, as Shanidar 1 was over 40 years old at the time of its demise, and long since debilitated.
In the Pleistocene period, surviving as a hunter-gatherer would have required a person’s full sensory and motor functions. However, Shanidar 1’s remains are not the only ones noted to have survived with limited limb functions or injuries.
Because of this, scientists now believe that Neanderthals might have had a significant social support system that would have ensured even the survival of the week, wounded, or debilitated.
“The debilities of Shanidar 1, and especially his hearing loss, thereby reinforce the basic humanity of these much-maligned archaic humans, the Neandertals,” states Erik Trinkaus, a Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor involved with the study.
Detailed study findings are available in a paper in the journal PLoS ONE.
Image Source: Wikimedia