Bones of a Neanderthal Child Discovered In Poland

          There was a huge breakthrough in the science world recently as archaeologists discovered the bones of a Neanderthal child.

          Researchers and examiners from Krakow’s Jagiellonian University stumbled upon the remains during excavations. The bones were located deep in the Cave Ciemna, found near the small town of Ojcow. Previous publications have suggested that the cave was occupied by Paleolithic people, but now more evidence is present to back the claim. Cave Ciemna features vast chambers and 200+ meters of passages, and has proven to be a jackpot when it comes to historical hauls. In past years, over 1,000 stone artifacts and collectibles have been claimed by archaeologists.

          These small, childlike bones date back over 115,000 years ago. The remains now hold the title of oldest ever found in Poland, and its discovery has provided scholars with a new insight on the life of our ancient relatives. From this discovery, researchers can get a deeper idea on how and where Neanderthals lived. To put this monumental find into perspective, previously the oldest human remains discovered in Poland dated to ~50,000 years ago, so this truly is a milestone.

Representation of a Neanderthal skull. Ancient bones of a Neanderthal child were uncovered in Poland. Image courtesy of ISTOCK.

          In an interview with media and scientist, Pawel Valde-Nowak of the Institute of Archeology at the university, stated “We have no doubts that these are Neanderthal remains, because they come from a very deep layer of the cave, a few meters below the present surface. This layer also contains typical stone tools used by the Neanderthal.”

Professor Pawel Valde-Nowak speaking at a conference. Image courtesy of the Institute of Archeology of Jagiellonian University.

          Something interesting to note is the porous nature of the bones of the child’s hand. There are countless tiny holes all over its surface, and conspiracies have come into play. It’s been agreed that the Neanderthal child was attacked and eaten by an ancient ‘giant bird.’ Valde-Nowak backs these thoughts, claiming “Analysis show that this is the result of passing through the digestive system of a large bird. This is the first such known example from the Ice Age.”

          Neanderthals, as a people, are believed to have gone completely extinct around 38,000 years ago, and to have first appeared in Europe roughly 400,000 years ago. The stigma of Neanderthals is that they’re a brutish bunch, basically primitive and inferior humans.

Famous recreation of what we believe Neanderthals to have looked like. Lifelike wax figure found in the Neanderthal Museum in Germany. Photo captured by ALAMY.

          However, a study published in September challenges this idea. They indicated that Neanderthals had a rather sensible and sophisticated healthcare system, providing long-term support for those injured and ill. Also, recent analysis of their hand bones found that they were extremely dexterous. After scanning fossils and studying how muscle attachments may have worked, scientists amazingly recreated an idea of how Neanderthals used their hands. They found that many could manipulate objects with the fine motor skills and accuracy of ‘a highly skilled worker.’

          In the end, it’s unclear why the Neanderthal people went extinct. It’s widely believed that a combination of climate change and the competition against ‘modern humans’ may have led to their downfall. Still, new news and research is always welcome to try and piece back the historical puzzle of our ancestors.


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