The researchers who found 115,000-year old finger bone fragments of a Neanderthal child have finally determined the reason for the child’s death. The prehistoric finger bones of the child were discovered by a team of researchers a few years ago inside a Southern Polish cave located in Malopolska region. The fragments were thought to be the bones of an animal until the researchers thoroughly analyzed them this year.
The analysis of the tiny, porous holes in the remains, of the oldest-known human bones discovered in Poland, reveals that they had passed through the digestive system of an ancient ginormous bird, as per Professor Pawel Valde-Nowak from the Institute of Archeology. However, it is still unclear whether the large bird had really attacked, killed and then ate the child or had scavenged the dead child’s finger remains.
Valde-Nowak said that the fragment remains are likely to belong to a young Neanderthal child aged between 5 to 7 years old. The remains, found in a deep layer of the cave where the hominoids most likely lived for thousands of years, reveal a few signs of digestion by a big bird, say the researchers. Besides, the layer also comprises of stone tools which were used by the Neanderthal.
Before this discovery, the oldest Neanderthal bone remains were dated to be between 52,000-54,000 years old. But, this latest finding is transforming the current knowledge researchers have about the first hominids of Europe.
Neanderthals, known as the closest human species to the homosapiens, occupied Eurasia for nearly 350,000 years. However, there are a few theories based on the timings of extinction of the Neanderthals. The experts believe that Neanderthals’ extinction may have happened 40,000, 27,000 or 24,000 years ago. Moreover, in another study, the researchers had said that climate change might have been one of the major reasons in the extinction of Neanderthals than thought earlier.