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A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Partially Digested Neanderthal Teeth Identified

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Neanderthal teeth hyenaPARIS, FRANCE—Live Science reports that Bruno Maureille of France’s National Center for Scientific Research led a team that re-examined two unusual teeth discovered in cave in western France in the late twentieth century. The bones of some 17,000 butchered reindeer bones, as well as bones of horses and bison have also been found at the hunting campsite, known as Marillac, along with Neanderthal bones bearing butchery marks. The teeth in the study are thought to have been consumed and regurgitated by a cave hyena some 65,000 years ago. Previous analysis suggested the teeth had belonged to cattle or deer, but the new study indicates they belonged to a Neanderthal, and had been altered by the carnivore’s digestive juices. “We don’t know exactly what was going on,” said Alan Mann, a Princeton University professor emeritus, “but [the Neanderthals] must have left skulls or parts of the face there, because cave hyenas came in and ate them.” For more, go to “Early Man Cave.”

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