The perceived image of Neanderthals is one of the nomadic carnivore, traversing the land in search of unsuspecting game. But, new research from MIT and the University of La Laguna in Spain reveals that Neanderthals may have been, on occasions, omnivorous. After studying fecal matter from El Salt, a known Neanderthal resting site, researchers found a variety of plant particles. Although scientists have long speculated about the omnivorous nature of Neanderthals, this provides the first substantial evidence for the claim.
Ainara Sistiaga, a graduate student from La Laguna remains skeptical on the matter. "We have passed through different phases in our interpretation of Neanderthals," she states, arguing that our understanding of the species is still too incomplete to draw definite conclusions. With regards to the plant particles, she suggests they may have come from Neanderthals chewing up or breaking down sticks in the process of creating tools.
Read more on the debate at science daily and view more Neanderthal images at Science Source.