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.
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