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palaeontologists find suggest cave dwellers cared for the elderly & infirm, thoughts?

MADRID (AFP) – Scientists said Monday they had uncovered evidence suggesting cave dwellers who lived in northern Spain some 500,000 years ago took care of their elderly and infirm.

University of Madrid palaeontologists discovered the partial skeleton of a male of a European species ancestral to the Neanderthals who suffered from a stoop and possibly needed a stick to remain upright, they said in a statement.

"This individual would be probably impaired for hunting, among other activities. His survival during a considerable period with these impairments allows us to hypothesize that the nomadic group of which this individual was part would provide special care to aged individuals," it said.

The remains suggested the cave dweller died when he was over 45. They were found at Atapuerca in northern Spain's Burgos province, the site of several caves containing evidence of prehistoric human occupation.


Asked by sweet-a-kins at 1:37 PM on Oct. 12, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

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Answers (7)
  • Not surprised by any of it, we are a species that have always been communal, in one way or another. Cool article :)

    Answer by Mme.Langley at 2:28 PM on Oct. 12, 2010

  • Very cool, it does not surprise me one bit though. I believe Humans walked this earth a lot longer than most would choose to believe.

    Answer by samurai_chica at 1:41 PM on Oct. 12, 2010

  • yeah I believe it. I'm sure that not all creatures, humans included were so cruel as to just leave their old and infirm to just die alone.

    (not the cannibal part)

    Answer by Roadfamily6now at 1:41 PM on Oct. 12, 2010

  • Interesting...

    Answer by anikahaynes1 at 1:42 PM on Oct. 12, 2010

  • Human beings are a communal species, we're supposed to support each other.

    Answer by UpSheRises at 1:50 PM on Oct. 12, 2010


    An earlier study carried out at the same site in 2009 concluded that the cave dwellers who lived there were cannibals who valued the flesh of children and adolescents.

    In 1994, palaeontologists also unearthed at Atapuerca the fossilised remains of  homo antecessor or "Pioneer Man", believed to date back 800,000 years.


    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:38 PM on Oct. 12, 2010

  • And to think that anyone who lived over 45 years of age was considered elderly ...

    Answer by tasches at 2:05 PM on Oct. 12, 2010