"Certainly, our findings contrast markedly with the rather simplistic view of our ancient relatives in the popular imagination," he added. Other recent findings have started to paint a picture of Neanderthals as sophisticated beings who made cave art, took care of the elderly, buried their dead and may have been the first jewellers - though they were probably also cannibals. In 2012, a study in the journal Naturwissenschaften said Neanderthals appeared to have used medicinal herbs such as yarrow and chamomile. Neanderthals lived in parts of Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East for up to 300,000 years but appear to have vanished around 40,000 years ago. This coincided more or less with the arrival of homo sapiens out of Africa, where modern humans emerged some 200,000 years ago.
Prehistoric 'Aspirin' Found in Sick Neanderthal's Teeth pic.twitter.com/MyaxT7wlVl— Harper Berthod (@crgclnul4) March 9, 2017
Researchers studying Neanderthal teeth realize that the 'Paleo diet' isn't what we thought — Curtis Duffy (@sempaiwis) March 9, 2017From the oldest plaque ever to be genetically analysed, the team concluded the Belgian Neanderthals ate a diet of woolly rhino, wild sheep and mushrooms, living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. "Those from El Sidron Cave, on the other hand, showed no evidence for meat consumption, but appeared instead to have a largely vegetarian diet comprising pine nuts, moss, mushrooms and tree bark," Cooper said in a statement. El Sidron at the time was in a densely forested environment, added the study's lead author Laura Weyrich, also from ACAD. "In contrast, the Spy Neanderthals were living in a steppe-like environment, so it's easy to picture large, beastly animals wandering around as a major source of food," she said.