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Did Neanderthals Know Anything about Medicine?

DNA analysis of plaque from the teeth of two Neanderthals who once lived in Spain's El Sidrón Cave has revealed the presence of poplar, a tree that contains salicylic acid (the active ingredient in aspirin) and a mold with antibiotic properties. This discovery, published in the March 2017 edition of the journal Nature, has led scientists to suggest that Neanderthals knew about medicinal plants and their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. One of the Neanderthals found at El Sidrón was in poor health and probably suffered from painful dental abscess and a diarrhea-inducing parasite. Only his dental plaque contained the medicinal remains.

The mysterious lives of Neanderthals:

  • The two specimens were a female adult and a teenage male, but the DNA indicates that he wasn't a son or a brother.

  • “The use of antibiotics would be very surprising, as this is more than 40,000 years before we developed penicillin,” explained study co-author Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA.

  • The dental plaque is the oldest ever to be genetically examined. The analysis also revealed that some Neanderthals were meat lovers, and some were not. In an odd twist to the story, scientists concluded that the El Sidrón cave dwellers, who were primarily vegetarian, had been cannibalized.

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More Info: NBC News

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dimchild
Post 1

The one group were vegetarians. Then the other group, who were carnivorous savages, attacked the peace-loving vegetarians and ate them! Sickening.

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