Last Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Recent research has revealed that Neanderthals lived around 90,000 years ago. They used to catch crabs and roast them on charcoals. Then, they ate the cooked flesh. According to the study, Neanderthals were able to enjoy seafood at that time. These findings are significant because they are based on growing body evidence that shows that Neanderthals had a palate for seafood. This is an important aspect of Homo sapiens, a scientific term that refers to a species of humans that has been extinct for many years. These findings add another nail to the coffin for the old belief that Neanderthals were cave dwellers in prehistoric times who couldn’t make a living from big-game carcasses. Mariana Nabais (the author) is also a postdoctoral researcher at the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution, Tarragona.

Archaeologists who have been digging the site at Gruta da Figueira Brava, about 20 miles or 32 kilometers south of Lisbon, have also discovered the remains of shellfish. The lead author of the study, Dr. Mariana Nabais has said that the team of scientists has found numerous shell and pincer scraps from the brown crab specifically along with clams, limpets, and mussels. The brown crab is scientifically known as Cancer Pagurus, which is a species of crab frequently eaten today in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France. The latest study has found the Neanderthals used to hunt bigger adult crabs mostly, showing they were selective for the size, along with a carapace that was around 16 centimeters or 6.3 inches wide. Each adult crab used to provide about 200 grams that were 7 ounces of crabmeat, stated study authors. The authors of the study have revealed that the shapes of damage to the crab shells and pincers did not show any link to other hunters such as birds or rats. They have stated that crack marks found on specimens discovered at the archaeological spot were very alike to those generated after the consumption of crabs in current times although Neanderthals would have utilized stone tools rather than contemporary metal sledgehammers and cutlery to crack open the shellfish.

The study has revealed that pop marks found on the remains of brown crabs discovered at an archaeological cave spot in Portugal were very similar to those generated after the consumption of the same species at present. Researchers have found black burn marks on the shells that suggested that Neanderthals used to roast crabs on hot coals to temperatures of between 300 and 500 degrees Celsius and then used to crack open the shells to eat the cooked flesh. The authors of the study have said that they have not been able to determine whether these foods were considered tasteful, echoed some sort of celebration, added social value to people who harvested them or had other consumption-linked significance. The findings of the study have been released in the journal known as Frontiers in Environmental Archaeology. Archeologists claim that it is hard to catch crabs by hand, however, the new findings reveal that Neanderthals used to catch crabs near low-tide rock pools near the cave. Scientists have noted that native groups across North America have been reported harvesting crabs in this manner. Experts have said that Neanderthals were able to acclimate to diverse surroundings and hunt a wide variety of animals and utilize different types of food. The authors of the research that examined ancient animal remains found at an archaeological location in Germany have said that Neanderthals were able to kill and slaughter gigantic elephants that were enough for the consumption of 100 people for a month. A study that was released last year revealed that Neanderthals used to cook food that included plants and pulses like lentils.