Teeth reveal tough Neanderthal childhoods
By tracing the growth lines in adolescent Neanderthal teeth — which leave a record like tree rings — researchers gained fascinating insights into Neanderthal childhood. As kids, the two individuals whose teeth were tested survived extremely harsh winters, braved multiple illnesses and even suffered lead poisoning.
Katie Hinde, an associate professor in Arizona State University's School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the Center for Evolution and Medicine, discussed the importance of these findings for understanding ourselves and our species’ past.
“These techniques help us build more nuanced pictures of what (the Neanderthals’) lives were like season to season,” she said. “This gives us insight into the origins of health and disease and lets us understand more about the environments that shape humans and our close relatives.”
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