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A group of investigators have confirmed that the iberian neanderthals used to eat shellfish and seafood 150.000 years ago, according to a discovery located in the Bajondillo Cave in Torremolinos (Malaga), which is the oldest trace of shellfish consumption by this species found so far.

Torremolinos neanderthal
Representation of Neanderthals

The outcome of this task is published in the PLoS ONE magazine as a result of the collaboration between Portuguese, English, Japanese and Spanish investigators, who led this study.

“This discovery places the Bajondillo Cave as the oldest neanderthal activity registered, as the most archaic findings until today only go back 50.000 years ago”, explained the investigator of the National Scientific Research Council, Francisco Jiménez Espejo.

An adaptive advantage

According to this expert, this discovery is not only a matter of dates, “it has important implications for the knowledge of human evolution”. In this sense, he explained that “many investigators claim that the shellfishing activity is one of the behaviours that defines the modern human being and, to a certain point, an adaptive advantage that allowed the Homo sapiens to expand”. However, he continued, this investigation proves that “at the same time, the Homo sapiens from South Africa and the Homo neanderthalensis that settled in the south of the iberian peninsula, made the most of these resources”.

Until now, the investigators believed that the oldest shellfishing activities date back to the Homo sapiens, according to the findings in the Pinnacle Point Site in South Africa, also 150.000 years ago.

The Bajondillo Cave has registered 19 archaeological strata that go beyond 150.000 years. According to the National Scientific Research Council, there have been traces of Middle Paleolithic, Upper Paleolithic, Epipaleolithic and Neolithic settlements in this cave. This task was led by the Seville University professor, Miguel Cortés Sánchez.

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