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#82: Humans Took Care of the Disabled Over 500,000 Years Ago. The 530,000-year-old de­-formed skull of a child found in Spain indicates that some early humans must have nurtured and cared for disabled members of their tribe.

#82: Humans Took Care of the Disabled Over 500,000 Years Ago

This child, estimated to be 10 years old at the time of death, had a debilitating birth defect called craniosynostosis, in which joints in the skull fuse before the brain has finished growing. The disorder increases pressure in the skull, impairing brain development. “It is amazing that this child was able to survive until 10 years old. This is the most ancient proof of social care of the handicapped,” says Ana Gracia, a paleoanthropologist based in Madrid, who published an analysis of the skull in March in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Many mammals kill burdensome offspring, she points out. The child, unearthed in the Atapuerca Mountains of Spain, belonged to the species Homo heidelbergensis and was probably part of a small tribe of hunter-gatherers who migrated in response to food and weather. Ancient World.

Prehistoric art

Fertile crescent. Index of Native American History Resources on the Internet. Seeking Native American Spirituality and Traditional Religion: R. Native American Indian languages Native culture What's new on our site today! Judging from the email I get, there are a lot of people out there trying to learn about traditional Native American religion and spirituality these days. Many of them are trying to do this on the Internet. Now, there is a lot of garbage and misinformation on the Internet no matter what subject you're talking about, but American Indian religion and spirituality has got to have the worst signal-noise ratio of any of them. There are two reasons to be looking for information on Native American religions. 1. 2. 3. 4.

If you're trying to learn about American Indian religion because you want to become a part of it, though, you not only face that problem, but another, much deeper one as well: American Indian spirituality is not evangelistic. On our site, we have generally given people the benefit of the doubt with our links, including websites unless we are sure there is a reason not to. You've been warned. Orrin.

Biology, Evolution and More Human Origins News. #8: Cavemen: They're Just Like Us. Forget what you know about simpleminded cavemen.

#8: Cavemen: They're Just Like Us

Scientists have discovered that Neanderthal diets were sophisticated, their tools efficient, and their development more similar to ours than researchers ever imagined. Neanderthals are widely viewed as big-game-hunting carnivores who lacked the culinary expertise of modern humans. Now researchers working at two sites on Gibraltar have discovered that Neanderthals were in fact skillfully exploiting the diverse dietary riches of their coastal environment around 40,000 years ago—some 10,000 years before the ancestors of modern humans ever set foot on the peninsula.

A study published in September in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [subscription required] shows that Neanderthals ate seals, dolphins, and fish. They also cooked mussels from the rivers on their hearths and heated the long bones of monk seals to get at the marrow inside. A separate study also revealed Neanderthals as surprisingly gifted toolmakers.