Neanderthals dried hunks of big game meat for easy transport

June 24th, 2009 - 1:47 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 24 (ANI): A new study has determined that necessity compelled Neanderthals to dry hunks of big game meat for easy transport.

According to a report in Discovery News, the findings help to explain how Neanderthals could transport meat over long distances without it rotting, as well as how they survived the often chilly conditions of Northern Europe.

Taking into consideration basic movements needed for hunting and survival, such as walking and wood cutting, study author Bent Sorensen said that Neanderthal groups would have needed about 1,792 pounds of meat per month, requiring one mammoth - or other big game kill - every seven weeks.

Animal bones and stone tools at Neanderthal sites indicate they hunted away from home.

In order to transport meat, Sorensen thinks they must have dried it somehow. But, he said, “I do not know of any evidence for (them) using salt.”

“As for preparation, boiling is much more efficient and nutrient-conserving than frying, and evidence from more recent Stone Age settlements confirm that meat was boiled in ceramic pots or skin bags,” he said.

“However, it is still likely that frying over the camp fire was the usual method in Neanderthal communities, since no containers for boiling have been found,” he added.

“Carrying dried meat from a mammoth home could now be done by seven to eight round trips (over) 14 to 16 days,” he further added.

The Neanderthals may have just eaten the plain jerky, which could have been made from horse, red deer, woolly rhinoceros, bison, as well as mammoth, based on bone finds.

“They also probably transported meat back home and cooked it there,” said Sorensen.

According to the new study, Neanderthals also likely wore tailored clothing.

Neanderthals sported “one or two layers of skins/furs and wrapped skins/furs for shoes, held together by leather strings,” the study determined.

“Neanderthal tooth marks indicate chewing hides for softening, which is essential for clothes making,” said Sorensen.

Even with warm fires lit in caves and at other home sites, Sorensen believes Neanderthals must have slept underneath mammoth skins and other coverings.

Tools found for making clothes, such as hide scrapers and points for poking holes in animal skins, support his contention that Neanderthals dressed in well-fitted layers. (ANI)

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |