A study of fossilized teeth of Neanderthals, the extinct and distant relatives of modern humans who lived in caves during the Ice Age, found that they contained small traces of herbs and vegetables. Researchers believe that this could be because the Neanderthals ate the stomach contents of their prey that were herbivores, such as deer or bison. Partly digested stomach contents, referred to as chyme, could have given the Neanderthals vitamins that they could not have otherwise accessed with ease. Other researchers believe that these herb and vegetable traces could be from the Neanderthals eating the items directly, although their diets were thought to consist mainly of large game animals.
More about Neanderthals:
- Modern Eurasian genes are estimated to consist of 1% to 4% of Neanderthal DNA.
- The wide nose of the Neanderthal was thought to have been developed for evolutionary purposes, to help warm up the chilly air they would have inhaled during the Ice Age.
- About 1% of Neanderthals are estimated to have had red hair, pale skin and possibly even freckles.