Evidência isotópica das dietas dos Neanderthais europeus e os primeiros humanos modernos

terça-feira, setembro 22, 2009

Isotopic evidence for the diets of European Neanderthals and early modern humans

Michael P. Richards a,b,1 and Erik Trinkaus c

+ Author Affiliations

aDepartment of Human Evolution, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany;

bDepartment of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1, Canada; and

cDepartment of Anthropology, Campus Box 1114, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130

Edited by Richard G. Klein, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved June 23, 2009 (received for review April 7, 2009)


We report here on the direct isotopic evidence for Neanderthal and early modern human diets in Europe. Isotopic methods indicate the sources of dietary protein over many years of life, and show that Neanderthals had a similar diet through time (≈120,000 to ≈37,000 cal BP) and in different regions of Europe. The isotopic evidence indicates that in all cases Neanderthals were top-level carnivores and obtained all, or most, of their dietary protein from large herbivores. In contrast, early modern humans (≈40,000 to ≈27,000 cal BP) exhibited a wider range of isotopic values, and a number of individuals had evidence for the consumption of aquatic (marine and freshwater) resources. This pattern includes Oase 1, the oldest directly dated modern human in Europe (≈40,000 cal BP) with the highest nitrogen isotope value of all of the humans studied, likely because of freshwater fish consumption. As Oase 1 was close in time to the last Neanderthals, these data may indicate a significant dietary shift associated with the changing population dynamics of modern human emergence in Europe.

Europe isotopes collagen fishing


1To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: richards@eva.mpg.de
Author contributions: M.P.R. and E.T. designed research; M.P.R. and E.T. performed research; M.P.R. and E.T. analyzed data; and M.P.R. and E.T. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.

This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/0903821106/DCSupplemental.


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