Pour l’alimentation des autres hominines, voir la page [données scientifiques]
Globalement, les recherches récentes confirment l’image de Néandertaliens consommateurs de très grands animaux, mais aussi d’une importante diversité de plantes (ces deux consommations étaient remarquablement anticipées par Jean Auel dans Les enfants de la terre, dès 1980). La question de la part glucidique dans l’alimentation de Néandertal reste un sujet de débat (de même que chez Homo sapiens au paléolithique).
Today, nutritional guidelines recommend that around half the diet
should be carbohydrate, while low intake is considered to compromise physical performance and successful reproduction. This is likely to have been the same for Paleolithic populations, highlighting an anomaly in that the basic physiological recommendations do not match the extensive archaeological
evidence. Neanderthals had large, energy-expensive brains and led physically active lifestyles, suggesting that for optimal health they would have required high amounts of carbohydrates. […]
We end by proposing that analyses of Paleolithic diet and subsistence strategies need to be grounded in the minimum recommendations throughout the life course and that this provides a context for interpretation of the archaeological evidence from the behavioral and environmental perspectives.
A neanderthal hunting camp in the central system of the Iberian Peninsula: A zooarchaeological and taphonomic analysis of the Navalmaíllo Rock Shelter (Pinilla del Valle, Spain) [Texte]
Moclán et al.
Quaternary Science Reviews, 2021
Neanderthal people were the main agents that accumulated the site’s faunal remains – largely those of large bovids and to a lesser extent medium-sized cervids. The activity of carnivores was also identified, but these animals mostly left behind the remains of small prey or fed upon carcasses abandoned at the camp by human hunters.
Dietary evidence from Central Asian Neanderthals: A combined isotope and plant microremains approach at Chagyrskaya Cave (Altai, Russia) [Texte]
Salazar-Garcia et al.
Journal of human evolution, 2021
Stable isotopes identify one individual as possessing a high trophic level due to the hunting of large- and medium-sized ungulates, while the analysis of dental calculus also indicates the presence of plants in the diet of this individual and others from the site. These findings indicate eastern Neanderthals may have had broadly similar subsistence patterns to those elsewhere in their range.
Last Interglacial Iberian Neandertals as fisher-hunter-gatherers [PDF]
Zilhão et al.
Figueira Brava cave, in the Arrábida range (Portugal), provides an
exceptionally well preserved record of Neandertal coastal resource exploitation on a comparable scale to the MSA and dated to ~86 to 106 thousand years ago. The breadth of the subsistence base—pine nuts, marine invertebrates, fish, marine birds and mammals, tortoises, waterfowl, and hoofed game—exceeds that of regional early Holocene sites. Fisher–hunter–gatherer economies
are not the preserve of anatomically modern people; by the Last Interglacial, they were in place across the Old World in the appropriate settings.
The exploitation of rabbits for food and pelts by last interglacial Neandertals [PDF]
Pelletier et al.
Quaternary science reviews, 2019
The high frequency of rabbits in the Pié Lombard Mousterian assemblage, comprising at least 225 individuals, is unique for this period and probably reflects the location and function of the rock-shelter. The capture of such a hight number of this small mammal potentially required sophisticated acquisition techniques formerly known only from Upper Palaeolithic contexts.
New evidence of broader diets for archaic Homo populations in the northwestern Mediterranean [PDF]
Morin et al.
Science advances, 2019
Investigating diet breadth is critical for understanding how archaic Homo populations, including Neanderthals, competed for seasonally scarce resources. The current consensus in Western Europe is that ungulates formed the bulk of the human diet during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic, while small fast prey taxa were virtually ignored. Here, we present a multisite taphonomic study of leporid assemblages from Southern France that supports frequent exploitation of small fast game during marine isotope stages 11 to 3. Along with recent evidence from Iberia, our results indicate that the consumption of small fast game was more common prior to the Upper Paleolithic than previously thought and that archaic hominins from the northwestern Mediterranean had broader diets than those from adjacent regions. Although likely of secondary importance relative to ungulates, the frequent exploitation of leporids documented here implies that human diet breadths were substantially more variable within Europe than assumed by current evolutionary models.
Stable isotopes reveal patterns of diet and mobility in the last Neandertals and first modern humans in Europe [Texte]
Wißing et al.
Nature Scientific Reports, 2019
For both UPMH individuals, the two most relevant prey species are the mammoth and the reindeer. Each species comprised roughly 25–30% of the meat protein source. The rhinoceros contributed ca. 15 to 20%, the bovines and horses around 10% of the dietary proteins. Cave bears played the least important role, with a maximum contribution of around 5% of the total protein intake. These results are similar to those of Neandertals, which indicates that both UPMHs and Neandertals had a similar prey choice with preference for mammoth and reindeer.
[…] The zooarchaeological records from Goyet and Spy fully support mammoth hunting episodes with a special preference for younger individuals and possibly their mothers. Interestingly, based on stable isotopes, the mammoth seems to contribute the major part of the dietary protein of humans in a time range between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago and across wide areas spanning from SW France to the Crimean Peninsula
Exceptionally high δ15N values in collagen single amino acids confirm Neandertals as high-trophic level carnivores [PDF]
Neandertals and carnivores clearly are at the same trophic level.
“Neanderthals, vitamin C, and scurvy” [Texte]
John D. Speth.
Quaternary International, 2018
As a consequence, common methods of preparing meat for storage and consumption (e.g., drying, roasting, boiling) may lead to significant loss of vitamin C. There are two effective methods of minimizing such loss: (1) eating meat raw (fresh or frozen); and (2) eating the meat after it has been putrefied. Putrefaction has distinct advantages that make it a common, if not essential, way of preparing and preserving meat among northern latitude foragers and, for the same reasons, very likely also among Paleolithic foragers in the colder climes of Pleistocene Eurasia. Putrefaction “pre-digests” the meat (including the organs), making it much less costly to ingest and metabolize than raw meat; and it lowers the pH, greatly increasing the stability of vitamin C. These observations offer insights into critical nutritional constraints that likely had to be addressed by Neanderthals and later hominins in any context where their diet was heavily meat-based for a substantial part of the year.
Forum communication comment on «Neanderthals, vitamin C, and scurvy» by John D. Speth [Abstract]
Quaternary international, 2019
Forum Communication–“Reply to José Luis Guil-Guerrero’s comment on ‘Neanderthals, vitamin C, and scurvy’ by John D. Speth” [Abstract]
John D. Speth
Quaternary international, 2019
Dental calculus indicates widespread plant use within the stable Neanderthal dietary niche [PDF]
Power et al. (Henry, Hublin)
Journal of human evolution, 2018
it is clear that plant exploitation was a widespread and deeply rooted Neanderthal subsistence strategy, even if they were predominately game hunters. Given the limited dietary variation across Neanderthal range in time and space in both plant and animal food exploitation, we argue that vegetal consumption was a feature of a generally static dietary niche.
Neanderthal behaviour, diet, and disease inferred from ancient DNA in dental calculus [PDF]
Weyrich et al.
At Spy cave, Belgium, Neanderthal diet was heavily meat based and included woolly rhinoceros and wild sheep (mouflon), characteristic of a steppe environment. In contrast, no meat was detected in the diet of Neanderthals from El Sidrón cave, Spain, and dietary components of mushrooms, pine nuts, and moss reflected forest gathering2,3. Differences in diet were also linked to an overall shift in the oral bacterial community (microbiota) and suggested that meat consumption contributed to substantial variation within Neanderthal microbiota. Evidence for self-medication was detected in an El Sidrón Neanderthal with a dental abscess4 and a chronic gastrointestinal pathogen (Enterocytozoon bieneusi).
Human predatory behavior and the social implications of communal hunting based on evidence from the TD10.2 bison bone bed at Gran Dolina (Atapuerca, Spain) [Texte]
Rodríguez-Hidalgo et al.
Journal of Human Evolution, 2017
The results indicate a monospecific assemblage heavily dominated by axial bison elements. The abundance of anthropogenic modifications and the anatomical profile are in concordance with early primary access to carcasses and the development of systematic butchering focused on the exploitation of meat and fat for transportation of high-yield elements to somewhere out of the cave. Together with a catastrophic and seasonal mortality pattern, the results indicate the procurement of bison by communal hunting as early as circa 400 kyr. This suggests that the cognitive, social, and technological capabilities required for successful communal hunting were at least fully developed among the pre-Neanderthal paleodeme of Atapuerca during the Lower Paleolithic. Similarly, the early existence of mass communal hunting as a predation technique informs our understanding of the early emergence of predatory skills similar to those exhibited by modern communal hunters.
Shoot first, ask questions later: Interpretative narratives of Neanderthal hunting [Texte]
White et al.
Quaternary Science Reviews, 2016
This paper examines the hunting strategies employed by Neanderthals at a series of kill or near-kill sites from the Middle Palaeolithic of Europe (Mauran, La Borde, Taubach, Zwoleń and Salzgitter Lebenstedt). Our conclusions indicate that Neanderthals did not necessarily pre-select individuals from a herd, who they then isolated, pursued and killed, but rather ambushed whole groups, which they slaughtered indiscriminately. There is strong evidence, however, that Neanderthals were highly selective in the carcasses they then chose to process. Our conclusions suggest that Neanderthals were excellent tacticians, casual executioners and discerning diners.
Neandertal versus Modern Human Dietary Responses to Climatic Fluctuation [Texte]
El Zaatari et al.
PLOS One, 2016
Specifically, whereas the Neandertals altered their diets in response to changing paleoecological conditions, the diets of Upper Paleolithic humans seem to have been less affected by slight changes in vegetation/climatic conditions but were linked to changes in their technological complexes. The results of this study also indicate differences in resource exploitation strategies between these two hominin groups. We argue that these differences in subsistence strategies, if they had already been established at the time of the first contact between these two hominin taxa, may have given modern humans an advantage over the Neandertals, and may have contributed to the persistence of our species despite habitat-related changes in food availabilities associated with climate fluctuations.
To meat or not to meat? New perspectives on Neanderthal ecology [Texte]
Fiorenza et al. (Henry)
American journal of biological anthropology, 2014
Neanderthals have been commonly depicted as top predators who met their nutritional needs by focusing entirely on meat. This information mostly derives from faunal assemblage analyses and stable isotope studies: methods that tend to underestimate plant consumption and overestimate the intake of animal proteins. Several studies in fact demonstrate that there is a physiological limit to the amount of animal proteins that can be consumed: exceeding these values causes protein toxicity that can be particularly dangerous to pregnant women and newborns. Consequently, to avoid food poisoning from meat-based diets, Neanderthals must have incorporated alternative food sources in their daily diets, including plant materials as well.
The Neandertal meal : a new perspective using faecal biomarkers [PDF]
Sistiaga et al.
PLOS One, 2014
Analysis of five sediment samples from different occupation floors suggests that Neanderthals predominantly consumed meat, as indicated by high coprostanol proportions, but also had significant plant intake, as shown by the presence of 5b-stigmastanol. This study highlights the applicability of the biomarker approach in Pleistocene contexts as a provider of direct palaeodietary information and supports the opportunity for further research intocholesterol metabolism throughout human evolution.
Plant foods and the dietary ecology of Neanderthals and early modern humans [Texte]
Henry et al.
Journal of human evolution, 2014
Our results suggest that both species consumed a similarly wide array of plant foods, including foods that are often considered low-ranked, like underground storage organs and grass seeds. Plants were consumed across the entire range of individuals and sites we
examined, and none of the expected predictors of variation (species, geographic region, or associated stone tool technology) had a strong influence on the number of plant species consumed. Our data suggest that Neanderthal dietary ecology was more complex than previously thought. This implies that the relationship between Neanderthal technology, social behavior, and food acquisition strategies must be better explored.
Rabbits and hominin survival in Iberia [Abstract]
Fa et al.
Journal of Human Evolution, 2013
We show that the use of the rabbit over time has increased, and that there could have been differential consumption by Neanderthals and Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH). Analysis of bone remains from excavations throughout Iberia show that this lagomorph was a crucial part of the diet of AMH but was relatively unutilised during the Mousterian, when Neanderthals were present.
Elephants and subsistence. Evidence of the human exploitation of extremely large mammal bones from the Middle Palaeolithic site of PRERESA (Madrid, Spain) [Texte]
Yravedra et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science, 2012
A uniquely broad spectrum diet during the Middle Pleistocene at Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain) [Extraits]
Blasco & Peris
Quaternary International, 2012
From this perspective, this paper discusses the human use of small prey (rabbits, birds and tortoises) in the stratigraphical sequence of Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain). This site contains a sedimentary deposit composed of seventeen stratigraphical levels ranging from MIS 9 to MIS 5e (c. 350–100 ka). The evidence of anthropogenic processing of small prey is documented from the earliest moments of the site occupation (level XVII) in form of cutmarks, intentional breakage, human toothmarks, and burning patterns, depending on the archaeological level.
Neanderthal Use of Fish, Mammals, Birds, Starchy Plants and Wood 125-250,000 Years Ago [Texte]
Hardy et al.
PLOS One 2011
Neanderthals are most often portrayed as big game hunters who derived the vast majority of their diet from large terrestrial herbivores while birds, fish and plants are seen as relatively unimportant or beyond the capabilities of Neanderthals. Although evidence for exploitation of other resources (small mammals, birds, fish, shellfish, and plants) has been found at certain Neanderthal sites, these are typically dismissed as unusual exceptions. The general view suggests that Neanderthal diet may broaden with time, but that this only occurs sometime after 50,000 years ago. We present evidence, in the form of lithic residue and use-wear analyses, for an example of a broad-based subsistence for Neanderthals at the site of Payre, Arde`che, France (beginning of MIS 5/end of MIS 6 to beginning of MIS 7/end of MIS 8; approximately 125–250,000 years ago). In addition to large terrestrial herbivores, Neanderthals at Payre also exploited starchy plants, birds, and fish. These results demonstrate a varied subsistence already in place with early Neanderthals and suggest that our ideas of Neanderthal subsistence are biased by our dependence on the zooarchaeological record and a deep-seated intellectual emphasis on big game hunting.
Earliest Known Use of Marine Resources by Neanderthals [Texte]
Cortes-Sanchez et al.
PLOS One, 2011
We conclude that described use of shellfish resources by Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) in Southern Spain started ∼150 ka and were almost contemporaneous to Pinnacle Point (South Africa), when shellfishing is first documented in archaic modern humans.
Human consumption of tortoises at Level IV of Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain) [Texte]
Journal of Archaeological Science, 2008
Level IV of Bolomor Cave has provided sufficient evidence to show proof of human consumption of tortoises in Later Middle Pleistocene. The use of tortoises for food appears to be quite common among the hominids that occupied the cave at Level IV. Although some exceptions do exist, these human groups follow specific patterns to process the tortoises. These patterns have been observed in the systematic use of fire to consume the nutrients from these animals. Thus, the consumption sequence of these small prey starts with them being cooked. Habitually, the tortoises are placed into the fire upside down and are roasted in its shell.