Ancientfoods

Cosmos magazine.com

Neanderthals were top level carnivores, even after the arrival of modern humans, chemical analysis indicates.

The finding, based on measures of nitrogen and carbon isotopes in two samples of Neanderthal collagen gathered from two sites in France, confirm a carnivorous diet.

It also does not support previously published suggestions that Neanderthals dined on putrid carrion left behind by other carnivores, or freshwater fish.

The latest research, led by Klervia Jaouen from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, tested carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios on single amino acids from collagen samples from Neanderthals recovered from sites at Les Cottés and Grotte du Renne. They conducted similar tests on faunal remains recovered from the same area.

The Neanderthal collagen, the scientists report in the journal PNAS, showed “exceptionally high [nitrogen] isotope ratios in their bulk bone or tooth collagen”.

The results, Jaouen and colleagues report, were…

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