They also did an analysis of the fossil discovered in 1908 and concluded that the body had been quickly covered to protect it. Although they could not determine if this practice was part of a funerary ritual or purely pragmatic, they did demonstrate the intentionality in the burial.
In 1957 the body of a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal was discovered in a cave in Iraqi Kurdistan with multiple injuries and health problems. From a strong blow to the side of the head, the amputation of the right arm from the elbow, serious injuries to the right leg as well as a progressive deterioration and loss of hearing.
The patient lived to an advanced age so he needed the care and help of his peers to survive
New analyzes of this individual carried out in 2017 revealed that of all the injuries suffered, hearing loss is the ailment that made him most vulnerable to predators and the dangers of the Pleistocene. This study concluded that the patient, who lived to an advanced age, needed the care and help of his peers to survive.
In addition, another study carried out with a Neanderthal found in the El Sidrón cave in Asturias showed that this species was medicated. The individual in question was found to have suffered from a dental abscess which must have caused him severe pain. The analysis of the tartar in the teeth of the studied body found DNA remains of a fungus that acted as a natural antibiotic and that the Neanderthal used to alleviate the pain it suffered. Rosa M. Tristán assures that “if they decorated, painted, cooked, medicated, buried their dead, cared for their elders, etc., it is clear that they were more similar to us than was thought a few years ago.”
The discoveries that have been made in the last decade have progressively changed the view that until then had been held of the Neanderthal as a species clearly inferior in all respects to Homo sapiens. To the point that it is already beginning to talk about whether it is possible to compare the cognitive abilities of both species. For Antonio Rosas this is not an easy question to answer. “In my opinion, Neanderthals and Sapiens share a good part of the neural foundations that lead to superior operational intelligence. However, I think that some functions of thought, subtle but very relevant, could be different ”.
In this sense, it recognizes the change in mentality that has occurred in recent years but also the prejudices that continue to accompany Homo Neanderthalensis. “Nowadays Neanderthals tend to be seen as a different human group but with the same evolutionary and even legal status as current humans. However, that image of Neanderthals as primitive and even morally inferior beings still remains in the collective imagination. There is still some way to go, ”Rosas says.
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