Neanderthals Used Plants as Medication
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Picture a Neanderthal holding some herbs. What would you say he's about to do with them? If you said "give himself rectal hives by wiping with poison ivy," then you're ... absolutely right, but that's not all they'd use plants for: They'd also eat very specific ones to cure specific ailments -- Neanderthals officially knew more about medicine than half of us.
How do we know? It's all thanks to a group of intrepid scientists brave enough to probe cavemen teeth under a very strong microscope. Zooming in on the plaque, they spotted tiny particles imbedded in these prehistoric choppers. Karen Hardy from the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies and Stephen Buckley from the University of York pored over the data and found remnants of chamomile and yarrow. And here's the thing: These plants had no nutritional value and, more importantly, many of them would taste like shit. Yes, even to a Neanderthal.
Girly bubble bath technology hadn't been invented yet.
According to the study, these giant-jawed morons supplemented their diets with chamomile because it aids digestive problems, and yarrow because it's an antiseptic. These substances also alleviated stress (they had to deal with wives and little green spacemen, after all) and helped battle the symptoms of a cold or fever. Chamomile is actually a potent anti-inflammatory agent and would have served as the equivalent of a few doses of ibuprofen.
Also, some of the plants had been roasted or smoked, suggesting there were different ways to administer each one. Considering that our current knowledge of nutrition has only been significantly advanced over the past hundred years or so, it's all the more impressive that cavemen could self-medicate almost 50,000 years ago and not end up tripping balls at the bottom of a canyon.
"The good news is, I found Jimmy."
C. Coville's twitter is here. Bryan Douey currently writes for the Man, and is contractually obligated to NOT want you to follow him, on Twitter or elsewhere.
Related Reading: For a primer in technology that existed WAY earlier than you'd expect, >click here. You'll be surprised to learn just how long batteries have been around. To go in the opposite direction, read about simple things invented super recently. Freaking time zones weren't invented until 1880! Last, wind down and learn about modern inventions predicted by science fiction.