Neanderthal's used medicine

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by bostjan, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Sorry about all of my non-music threads lately, but I couldn't pass this one up.

    I've always been intrigued by early human history, and this one got me fired up.

    Neanderthal microbes reveal surprises about what they ate — and whom they kissed

    Here's the primary research article.

    So, the gut and mouth bacteria of modern humans and neanderthals appears very different. With only five specimen data, though, it's not really conclusive to group behaviour, IMO, but still, one neanderthal who ate mutton and rhinoceros meat and another who ate nuts and moss and mushrooms, I guess that doesn't surprise me. Certainly cultures from colder climates are more reliant on meat and fish in their diets than warmer climate cultures, in general.

    What blew my mind was the evidence of consumption of large-ish amounts of poplar bark (which contains aspirin) and pennicilum mould, (which contains penicillin), which the scientists mused might be herbal treatment for an abscessed tooth.

    Sure, why not, right?

    Well, where herbal aspirin was a thing for modern humans around 400 BC or earlier, this Neanderthal guy died around 41000 BC. :eek:
     
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  2. CapnForsaggio

    CapnForsaggio Cap'n (general)

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    I also read that. Really awesome findings.

    Last year they announced the cave system in France with cultural findings related to Neanderthal, and now we have medicine. They also were known to wear jewelry, make and use tools, and interbreed with early human.

    "The great forgetting" seems to have more and more evidence as time goes on.

    Makes one wonder what ELSE we forgot....
     
  3. Alborz

    Alborz SS.org Regular

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    that IS nuts. good share
     
  4. BlackMastodon

    BlackMastodon \m/ (゚Д゚) \m/ Contributor

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    The apostrophe in the title really mislead me on what this was about. :lol:

    Really cool read, though.
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Why? It's an article about someone who found a Neanderthal's aspirin (medicine) in his stomach (used). ;)
     
  6. feraledge

    feraledge Heard the Good News about Maple Fretboards? Contributor

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    It's surprising to me that this is surprising. Hunter-gatherer knowledge is far older and more grounded than what we consider scientific knowledge. Amongst the !Kung, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas noted in her awesome book, The Old Way, that the !Kung knew about the flow of blood in the body and what was happening during an eclipse. Those are both pieces of highly flaunted "Western" scientific discoveries that have a really gnarly history to get to the point where "we" eventually got it right. But hunters have more insight and without a god to prove correct, it's easier to understand the world if you don't have a point to prove.
    But the human lineage has made tools and used fire for over 2.5 million years. To be able to look at a rock and visualize a usable form within it to get a task done is neither distinctly human nor miraculous to anyone who just knew to do that. There's a ridiculous amount of accumulated knowledge that our lineage carries that we simply offset to experts because we don't (or most of us) apply it ourselves in person. So from our perspective, as a Modernized spectator of the world, it makes sense to consider this fascinating (and it is from our point of view), but it only shows our own disconnect with our world and its functioning parts.
    To give an example of the detail that kind of knowledge might carry, Inuit peoples largely watched sailors die of scurvy because when they hunted and fished, they only ate meat, whereas their societies always ate meat and organs, but mostly a lot of fat. When Weston Price (a dentist who travelled the world in the late 1800s-early 1900s) was with them, he asked how they avoided scurvy, especially when it seemed so rampant amongst sailors. He was told that's why you have to eat liver. He asked why they didn't tell the sailors, they said because they didn't ask! As an anthropologist, the fact that eating organ meat meant scurvy wasn't an issue is kind of a given, but it makes it more interesting that it wasn't an issue, yet they knew exactly how to remedy it.
    That's a lot of knowledge we're missing out on.
     
  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Well, I think most people can figure out the flow of blood in the body without a textbook or anything like that, and it's pretty obvious what is happening during an eclipse. To me, it's a lot less obvious to figure out how to administer painkiller. The understanding of why they need to eat certain organ meats, though is pretty much right up there, but, in that case, you are looking at comparing events 40 000 + years apart.

    But I think I see what you are getting at. It seems like people were smart, then got stupid around the time cities became prevalent, and are slowly getting smart again since then. I guess living in a small nomadic group, you would need to have a more specialized set of understanding about things like what to eat and which herbs to use to survive. Looking back through history, we see stuff like ancient Egyptians thinking that sickness was caused by brain demons, so they would drill holes in people's skulls to get rid of the demons and cure the disease, and we think, "boy, that was dumb," and after seeing umpteen examples of dumb ideas from antiquity and from the medieval period, and conclude that people were dumb back then, but it's like looking at the headlines in the newspaper, seeing all of the violence and destruction, and concluding that people are generally violent and destructive. It's not totally wrong, but it's a limited perspective.
     
  8. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    So, I wanted to bring something up, though I'm not sure how I feel about it. I read this a while ago, and I figure even though it's not about their use of medicine per say that we only really need one neanderthal thread.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/...neanderthals-humans-mated-interbred-dna-gene/

    According to NatGeo, neanderthals only interbred with ancient humans after they had exited Africa. I'm not a biologist, and I was raised to be color-blind towards race, but since I've read the article now every time I read about neanderthals these days I'm somehow made to feel like there's a scientific basis to say that black people and white people aren't the same animal. I don't want to f/// up this thread with racial issues. But apparently African people are not descended from neanderthals, even though I am. What will future alien paleontologists think?
     
  9. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    That's pretty much what anthropologists have been thinking for a decade or two now.

    Something like (heavily paraphrased) Homo Erectus branched off into Neanderthals and Sapiens. The Neanderthals went north before the Sapiens, and developed characteristics more apt for colder climates. When Sapiens spread north, there was some overlap, and the two interbred before Neanderthals went extinct, which led to Cro Magnon man or whatever they are calling the common ancestors of white folks. When proto-white people spread east, they bred with Homo Altai or Denisovans or both, and that's how East Asian genetic traits diverged.

    I don't think there's anything racist about it. We all trace back to the same ancestors, just through different paths, which make us look different from one another. Even if Neanderthals were not as technologically advanced as their Sapiens contemporaries, that was 40+ thousand years ago, and I think all kinds of people have learned a lot and changed a lot since then. :shrug:

    And anyway, we are talking about theoretical models based on facts, and it all deals primarily with folks who lived and died a long time ago. If I find it offensive that there is evidence that my great x 800 grandfather spoke mostly in grunts and didn't know how to read or write, then I guess I haven't come too far from that, myself. :lol:
     
  10. chassless

    chassless Don'tDeserveMyGuitar

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    I'm pretty positive the Neanderthals could speak.
     

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