Archeologists find the fossilized remains of nine Neanderthals who were prey eaten by fierce cave Hyenas. The fossil was discovered in the Guattari Cave, near Rome.
Fossilized remains of nine Neanderthals were discovered to be possibly slaughtered by predatory animals
The find of the nine Neanderthals was found by accident by scientists surveying the Neolithic Guattari Caves. These early humans were dated to have lived from 90,000 to 100,000 years ago, and other carbon-dated to exist approximately from 50,000 and 68,000 years ago, reported Smithsonian Mag.
During1939, scientists found a Neanderthal skull in the cave. According to the Associated Press translation of the Italian Ministry of Culture's statement, the recent discovery is "one of the most significant places discovered in the history of Neanderthals."
According to the Guardian's Lorenzo Tondo, Stone Age hyenas used the cave as a den and most likely stalking and killing Neanderthals as prey items, noted The Guardian.
One scientist, Mario Rolfo, said the cave Hyena were hunting the primitive hominids, like the most vulnerable, like sick or elderly individuals. These predators possibly killed them with regularity as their food, said the archaeologist from Tor Vergata University.
Found was one female, seven men, and a young boy are some of the newly discovered remnants of the ancient prey. The team also identified the fossilized bones of hyenas, rhinoceroses, giant deer, and wild horses while surveying the cave. Indicative of the scavenging of these ancient carnivores. These fossilized remains of nine Neanderthals are another layer to the site's discovery.
He tells an outlet, "It's a fantastic find." "This cave became enclosed for more than 60,000 years by a collapse, probably caused by an earthquake, that concealed the remains left inside for millennia and more."
Mentioned by the New York Times' Elisabetta Povoledo, the discovery of a Neanderthal skull in the cave in 1939 brought international attention. According to the paleontologist who investigated it at the time, a large hole in the temple was the consequence of ritual cannibalism. Nevertheless, based on new evidence that started in October 2019, the damage has been most likely caused by cave hyenas.
The source says it's rare to find so many Neanderthal bones in one place, said Francesco Di Mario, a culture ministry archaeologist. That hyenas were able to catch this group indicates that the area, which is now home to the coastal town of San Felice Circeo, used to have a sizeable Neanderthal population which the carnivores regularly killed as sustenance.
These researchers look forward to learning about these ancient human relatives by analyzing the DNA of the fossils. An assessment of the Neanderthals' oral tartar has already revealed that they ate more cereals, which enabled them to build up their brains.
In Central Asia, Neanderthals were all over Europe from southwestern to central Asia starting at 400,000 years back, said the Smithsonian's Human Origins Initiative. Records state they were gone at an estimated 40,000 years ago, but scientists think that genetic traces are in the genome of modern humans but not evident, remarked the Smithsonian.
Whether prey was hunted or scavenged by the cave, Hyenas is yet to be discovered, said the Times. Some bones had tooth marks that might indicate fossilized remains of nine Neanderthals due to predators by the carnivores but not fully proven.