An exploration of our Earth's ever-captivating fauna through musings on the bizarre side of Zoology, Cryptozoology, Paleontology, and Paleoanthropology

Saturday, May 25, 2013

New Study Reveals When Juvenile Neanderthals Stopped Consuming Milk

A skeleton of a juvenile Neanderthal
A study was recently released through the scientific paper Nature, which details an interesting discovery regarding the behavior and lifestyle our closest extinct relatives. A team of researchers from the United States and Australia announced in the paper that they have gained the ability to calculate when Neanderthal juveniles began weaning (to become accustomed to a diet other than a mother's milk) through examination of fossil teeth. Intriguingly, this new examination technique was partially based off of information from studies of modern Homo sapiens and monkey teeth. By examining the traces of barium in the tooth, which can help determine when a primate had an exclusive diet of milk and when it began and completed the weaning process, the researchers were able to determine that juvenile Neanderthals stopped having a milk exclusive diet after seven months. This pattern of seven months of an exclusive milk diet and seven months of a supplementation diet away from milk is intriguingly similar to that of modern day Homo sapiens, thus revealing more similarities between Neanderthals and our own species. To read more about this extremely interesting breakthrough in Neanderthal research and the techniques which were used to accomplish it, click the link below:
Monkey teeth help reveal Neanderthal weaning

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