Eagles, wolves and lynxes, Axlor's Neanderthal dishes

Etxebeste Aduriz, Egoitz

Elhuyar Zientzia

Ed. Asier Gómez Olivencia

The Neanderthals who lived in the cave of Axlor have deduced that they ate birds, wolves and lynxes, from the traces collected in the excavations guided by Barandiarán in the 1970s. The study, led by researchers Asier Gómez Olivencia (UPV/EHU) and Joseba Ríos Garaizar (CENIEH), has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Although Neanderthals were mainly fed by medium and large ungulates, there is increasing evidence that they had a richer diet. For example, Domingo C of the UPV. The researcher and his colleagues Salazar have recently published a work in which, analyzing the dental edge of Neanderthals, they have seen that plant consumption was very common. It has also been observed that they ate rabbits, turtles, birds and carnivores, but in the case of birds and carnivores, until now no remains were found in the Cantabrian area.

Now three bird bones (two black eagles and the other sail) have been found between the remains of the Neanderthals of Axlor, and one of the bones of the wolf and lynx. According to the marks, it has been concluded that black eagles and lynx were probably used to eat meat and in the case of the wolf to obtain meat or leather.

Researchers have also reviewed the traces of consumption of these animals throughout the continent. The vestiges of poultry hunting for meat are mainly found in the Iberian Peninsula. The use of bird claws as ornament has been seen in France, Croatia and Italy, and the use of feathers as ornament was much more widespread. As for carnivores, in continental Europe shepherds were hunted, while in the peninsula the scarce vestiges suggest, above all, the hunting of cannids and felines.

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