Despite their portrayal by some as being brutish, the Neanderthals were often caring a people. Of course, you have to be when you get injured as often as a rodeo rider. Neanderthal life was rough, and animals frequently injured them like Red Deer, Mammoths, and especially Ibex, a wild goat. The one thing more remarkable than their injury rate is that sometimes they survived.

In the Shanidar Cave in Iraq, archaeologists have found the remains of a forty-year-old man whose injuries would almost certainly have blinded him. In La Chapelle-aux-Saints France, they discovered another with multiple debilitating injuries, including a healed-up broken hip, signs of arthritis in his lower neck, back, hip, and shoulders. As these injuries had begun to heal, we can conclude he survived for some time in this state, which would have been impossible without care and support from the rest of their group. Neanderthals died out around 30’000 years ago, though due to interbreeding, most modern humans have some Neanderthal DNA.

Artist: Calum O’Fee

A neanderthal caring for another neanderthal hurt by a goat

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Credit: Calum O’Fee and Open Past

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