Neanderthals do not conjure up images of fine dining in anyone’s mind. Most of us think of Neanderthals as those apeish humans from movies and old cartoons that hit women over the head with clubs. Or for those of us into reading books our college girlfriends loved, we got our info from Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series. New findings indicate that Neanderthals may have enjoyed the finer things in life, like fish and small game birds. You know, the delicate faire that only the most civilized of us enjoy.
I’m most surprised to learn that this is a new finding when the aforementioned fictional, utterly non-scientific, book series deals with Neanderthals going on great fishing expeditions and hunting small game. Sure, big game hunts were the main source of meat, but Ayla learned to make Creb’s favorite dish (an Earth baked ptarmigan). I never questioned that this was a discrepancy in what we knew of Neanderthals. Of course,
Bruce Hardy of Kenyon College in Gambier, OH and Marie-Helene Moncel of France’s Natural History Museum in Paris found traces of fish scales, wood, hide, feathers and starch on tools that belongs to Neanderthals over 100,000 years ago. Findings like this give the tale of Neanderthal’s demise a bittersweet note. As if they had been slowly trying to evolve a more civilized nature, but along came modern humans and took the world over with our fancy future technology.
It’s nice to know that at one time there was a group of Neanderthals sitting around a campfire sipping on some vintage wine (198,000 bc was a good year) while enjoying the finer things in life, such as a fresh filet of patagonian toothfish.