After a careful examination of over 200 skulls that date back 80,000 years, scientists have determined in a major new study that despite their somewhat brutish reputation, Neanderthals actually weren’t any more violent than modern humans were.
As the Daily Mail report, scientists are now keenly aware that Neanderthals were quite complex individuals who cared for and buried their dead, designed and wore beautiful jewelry made out of shells and animal teeth and had their own special social structures.
Now new research has shown that Neanderthals weren’t any more likely to engage in violent behavior than their modern human counterparts, according to Professor Katerina Harvati, of the Institute of Evolution and Ecology at the University of Tubingen in Germany.
“Our findings refute the hypothesis Neanderthals were more prone to head injuries than modern humans. We therefore believe the commonly cited Neanderthal behaviors leading to high injury levels – such as violent behavior and inferior hunting capabilities – must be reconsidered.”
To determine just how violent Neanderthals were when compared with modern humans, Professor Harvati and her team of researchers studied an astonishing 800 skeletons that were gathered from different regions of the world, which included both modern humans and Neanderthals.
With the skeletons dating back between 20,000 and 80,000 years, scientists were able to look at a diverse group of human and Neanderthal remains.
New research suggests Neanderthals' lives weren't as violent as the stereotype implies. https://t.co/Lg5WioIdcm
— NPR (@NPR) November 15, 2018
Through studying 200 skulls, Professor Harvati’s team discovered that the head wounds that were suffered by both modern humans and Neanderthals were equal in number, which strongly suggests that despite their genetic differences, Neanderthals and modern humans were engaged in the same lifestyle. These findings, Harvati noted, certainly “challenge the stereotype that Neanderthals lived more violent lives.”
Professor Harvati’s team kept a detailed list of each skeleton’s sex, the age they were when they died, and the location where they were found. Scientists involved in the study also analyzed the skull trauma prevalence across each group of the 200 skulls.
By using statistical modeling, Harvati was able to successfully demonstrate that there was no appreciable difference in the number of injuries that occurred between the modern humans from the Upper Palaeolithic and Neanderthals.
Dr. Marta Lahr, who is a palaeoanthropologist at Cambridge University, had a chance to go over the findings of the new study and explained that while daily life may have been inherently dangerous tens of thousands of years ago, Neanderthals were certainly no more violent than modern humans, nor did they suffer more injuries.
“This implies Neanderthal trauma does not require its own special explanations, and that risk and danger were as much a part of the life of Neanderthals as they were of our own evolutionary past. The result adds to growing evidence that Neanderthals had much in common with early human groups.”
The new study which has determined that Neanderthals were no more violent than modern humans has been published in Nature.