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Neanderthal Diet Not Paleo, Researchers Say After Studying Teeth

Image: Neanderthal Diet Not Paleo, Researchers Say After Studying Teeth
It turns out Neanderthals didn't eat a strictly Paleo diet. (Marazem/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 09 Mar 2017 06:21 AM

Researchers studying the plaque on Neanderthals' teeth discovered many Neanderthals did not follow the Paleo diet that has been attributed to them and emulated by many looking for a healthier way of eating.

By sequencing the DNA in the dental plaque and tartar found on Neanderthals’ teeth, scientists found one Neanderthal did eat mostly wild sheep and woolly rhino along with some mushrooms, but others ate a mostly vegetarian diet, according to USA Today.

The study, published in the journal Nature, showed Neanderthals ate mostly what was in their environment.

"The take-home message here is that there is no single diet for Neanderthals," author of the upcoming book "Evolution's Bite" Peter Ungar said about the study, USA Today reported. "Neanderthal diets are much more varied and much more in tune to what’s available to them."

Not only did Neanderthals seem to eat what was around them and not a Paleo diet, but also they may have identified certain medicinal plants that could help with common ailments of the time. One Neanderthal studied had an abscessed tooth and a parasite, and researchers found poplar bark, which is a natural source of aspirin, and the mold that produces penicillin in his system, according to The Atlantic.

It is believed humans passed the bacteria that leads to periodontal disease to Neanderthals about 120,000 years ago by sharing food or even by kissing, USA Today said.

Neanderthals, humans’ closest relatives, existed up until about 40,000 years ago when they were believed to have become extinct. Some researchers believe Neanderthals and humans interbred between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago, since most European natives have between 1 and 2 percent Neanderthal DNA.

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Researchers studying the plaque on Neanderthals' teeth discovered many Neanderthals did not follow the Paleo diet that has been attributed to them and emulated by many looking for a healthier way of eating.
neanderthal, diet, not, paleo, teeth
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2017-21-09
Thursday, 09 Mar 2017 06:21 AM
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