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According to paleoarchaeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes, the Neanderthal diet was not based solely on raw meat, but included insects, vegetables and fruits.
The Neanderthal diet was much more varied and rich than previously thought, including meat, insects, vegetables and even cooked foods, paleoarchaeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes told the Daily Mail.
In his book 'Analogues: Life, Love, Death and Neanderthal Art', to be published in October, Wragg provides evidence that disproves the idea that Neanderthals were a scavenger species or that they hunted only large animals, and that they became extinct. when the megafauna disappeared.
According to the author, as archaeological investigations have advanced and refined, evidence has emerged indicating that “Neanderthals were perfectly capable of hunting things like rabbits, birds or beavers, foraging for food on shallow shores and in rock pools, and they also ate more plants' than was believed.
“It seems that they took the best of what was around them. They ate a lot of raw meat, which preserves nutrients better, but there is evidence that they also roasted their meals or possibly boiled them in [containers made from] animal stomachs, ”Wragg explained.
Neanderthals needed to eat 3,500 to 5,000 calories a day to survive, and up to 7,000 in harsher environments. Therefore, to cover these caloric requirements, "they went after almost all the prey of considerable size in their local range, adapting to large species and to medium-sized hunting," said the paleoarchaeologist.
Nor did the high nutritional value of the animals' eyes, brains and tongues go unnoticed by Neanderthals, who, according to cut marks made by stone tools found in skeletons, consumed these foods regularly.
However, the researcher stated that also insects such as bees, larvae, flies, ticks, lice and others could have been part of their diet. Similarly, he pointed out that there is evidence that acorns, pistachios and other nuts, as well as figs, dates, grapes, olives, peas and radishes, were consumed by Neanderthals.
Therefore, the Neanderthal diet was diverse and highly dependent on the region and the time period in which they lived, explained Wragg, who said that "they were very close to us in many ways."