General, Research, Technology

Why are scientists so sure that Neanderthals were experienced swimmers?

How do you imagine our distant ancestorsNeanderthals who lived thousands of years ago? Probably, in your imagination there is a picture with gloomy people with rough features and massive muscles that prey on large animals in the vast expanses of cold Eurasia. It is believed that in those days they still could not fully master the upright posture, but a study conducted by archaeologists from the US state of Colorado proves that despite this, they were very good at swimming. Thanks to this skill, they could well raise strong shells from the bottom of the seas and make tools from them. But how exactly did scientists find out?

Neanderthals could not fully master the upright posture, but they could swim

The discovery of archaeologists was told in the scientificedition called Plos One. Back in 1949, a cave called Moserini was found on the territory of modern Italy. Now it is not available for research, but earlier scientists were able to find in it at least 167 shells with sharpened edges. According to scientists, they could serve as tools for the ancient Neanderthals. If this is true, then peculiar cutters and scrapers were made by our ancestors more than 100 thousand years ago.

Found in the cave of Moserini shells mined by Neanderthals

When did people learn to swim?

In the course of studying found shells, archaeologistsnoticed that 40 of them retained a smooth and shiny inner surface. The remaining shells, in turn, were scratched by the waves and sand. According to the researchers, this difference is due to the fact that part of the shells was found by ancient people on the shore. But those that retained a smooth inner surface were clearly mined by Neanderthals from the seabed.

At least 40 shells found have retained a smooth inner surface

It turns out that counted are not particularlysavvy ancestors of the people Neanderthals were not so stupid. According to researchers, ancient people could well dive to a depth of two to four meters in search of fresh shells, which were stronger than thrown ashore. Whether ancient people used shellfish as food is currently unknown. But the fact that they made tools from shells is a fact.

See also: Could Cro-Magnons arrange genocide of Neanderthals?

To some, scientists might thinkinsufficiently truthful due to lack of evidence. But weighty arguments about the fact that Neanderthals were able to swim were published in the scientific journal Plos One in 2019. Studying the remains of ancient people, scientists were able to find the so-called exostoses in their auditory canals. These ossifications inside the ear canals to this day are often found in professional swimmers and are the consequences of exposure to the ears of cold water. Is this not a strong evidence that Neanderthals could swim?

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Thanks to the study, scientistsrevealed another common feature between modern people and Neanderthals. You can also read about the life of our old ancestors in other articles published on our website. For example, did you know that Neanderthals often ate each other because of climate change?