PI Prof. Katerina Harvati together with Paleoanthropology PhD student Judith Beier, Prof. Joachim Wahl and Dr. Nils Anthes published a new study in the journal Nature on the prevalence of cranial traumatic injuries among Neanderthals compared with Upper Paleolithic modern humans (Beier et al. 2018). Neanderthals are commonly considered to have suffered high rates of trauma, especially on the head, reflecting dangerous and violent lifestyles, likely due to inferior hunting techniques or violent conflict. Beier et al., the first population level study of its scope, examined hundreds of fossil cranial specimens and conducted sofisticated statistical modeling to assess the hypothesis that Neanderthals show more cranial injuries than early modern humans. Results show the two groups to be indistinguishable from each other, indicating that Neanderthal lives were not more dangerous than those of our own Upper Paleolithic ancestors.
Beier J., Anthes N., Wahl J., Harvati K. 2018. Similar cranial trauma prevalence among Neanderthals and Upper Paleolithic humans. Nature doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0696-8
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