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Neanderthals hunted massive elephants that once roamed northern Europe - CNN

Neanderthals hunted massive elephants that once roamed northern Europe - CNN

Neanderthals hunted massive elephants that once roamed northern Europe - CNN
Feb 02, 2023 1 min, 14 secs

Despite thisimposing size, the now-extinctstraight-tusked elephantswere routinely hunted and systematically butchered for their meat by Neanderthals, according to a new study of the remains of 70 of the animals found at a site in central Germany known as Neumark-Nord, near the city of Halle.

Given a single adult male animal weighed 13 metric tons (twice as much as an African elephant), the butchering process likely involved a large number of people and took days to complete.

The sheer number of elephant bones with the systematic pattern of cut marks put this debate to rest, said the authors of the study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

What was most startling about the discovery was not that Neanderthals were capable of hunting such large animals but that they knew what to do with the meat, said Britt M. Starkovich, a researcher at the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen in Germany, in commentary published alongside the study.

It’s also possible that such a meat bonanza was an opportunity for temporary gatherings of people from a larger social network, said study coauthor Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser, a professor of prehistoric and protohistoric archaeologyat the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany.

An October 2022 study based on ancient DNA from a small group of Neanderthals living in what’s now Siberia suggested that women married outside their own community, noted Gaudzinski-Windheuser, who is also director of the Monrepos Archaeological Research Centre and Museum of Human Behavioural Evolution in Neuwied.

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