MAR 27, 2018 6:38 PM PDT

New Insights Into the Neanderthal Skeleton La Ferrassie 1

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Over 100 years ago, the skeleton of a neanderthal was discovered in a French cave, sparking international interest and wonder. Now, researchers at Binghampton University, working in collaboration with Dr. Asier Gomez-Olivencia of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) have applied modern techniques to the skeleton, revealing more about the famous find, called La Ferrassie 1. Learn more about the study, which was reported in the Journal of Human Evolution, from the following video.

"New technological approaches are allowing anthropologists to peer even deeper into the bones of our ancestors," said Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam. "In the case of La Ferrassie 1, these approaches have made it possible to identify new fossil remains and pathological conditions of the original skeleton as well as confirm that this individual was deliberately buried."

This Neanderthal skeleton was a man, probably over the age of 50, who had suffered various health problems in his lifetime, including several broken bones and respiratory problems. After his death, he was probably interred, likely by members of his community, in La Ferrassi rock shelter. Many Neanderthals lived there over time, with the skeleton placing them there between 40,000 and 54,000 years ago. 

The scientists used modern techniques like high-resolution microCT scanning to get a look inside of the skull. That enabled the researchers to see a collarbone fracture, mild scoliosis and spinal arthritis. New bone fragments belonging to La Ferrassie 1 were also found after a fresh assessment of the stuff gathered by the original archeological team. Modern forensic tools showed that the Neanderthal's bone fractures happened after death, due to the weight of the sediment building on top of it.

This new evidence has confirmed the observations made so long ago; La Ferrassie 1 was buried by members of its social group, intentionally.

"This insight has figured prominently in subsequent debates, still ongoing in the field, surrounding Neanderthal cultural practices," noted Quam. "The application of new technological approaches to the study of La Ferrassie 1 demonstrates that, over a century after its discovery, this iconic individual is still revealing new insights into Neanderthal anatomy and behavior."

 

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! Via Binghampton University, Journal of Human Evolution

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JAN 02, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 02, 2020
FDA Approves Ovarian Cancer Drug to Treat Pancreatic Cancer
In 2019, an estimated 46,000 Americans died from pancreatic cancer. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Lynparza, an ovarian cancer dr...
FEB 03, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
FEB 03, 2020
Brain Organoids May Not be Living Up to the Hype
Cells can be grown in special ways to create three-dimensional, miniature models of organs. But how good are they?...
FEB 22, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 22, 2020
46,000-Year-Old Bird Recovered From Siberian Permafrost
In 2018 in a place called Belaya Gora in northeastern Siberia, a frozen bird was found in the ground. A sample of DNA was recovered from the bird....
FEB 23, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 23, 2020
Revealing More About the Genetic Mechanisms Underlying Down Syndrome
Down syndrome impacts around 6,000 live births in the US every year. Around 95% of affected individuals have a type called trisomy 21....
MAR 04, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
MAR 04, 2020
DNA Fragments and Cartilage Recovered From 75-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Bones
An international team of researchers has analyzed cartilage from a baby duckbilled dinosaur, and they have identified bits of preserved proteins and what seems to be chromosomes....
MAR 14, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
MAR 14, 2020
Tracking Genetic Mutations and the Spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus
As data is collected on the pandemic virus, it appears to be collecting mutations at a rate of about 24 every year....
Loading Comments...