Seafood Lovers

Found in a Portuguese cave, signs of Neanderthal crab roast.

Lisbon, Portugal's coastal capital, is famous for its salted cod, sardines and stuffed brown crab. Those crabs have been on the menu for a long time.

In a cave not far from the city, researchers discovered charred remnants of shells and claws, evidence that Neanderthals lived there. Rising sea levels since have slowly brought the Atlantic to the cave door.

Reaching Gruta da Figueira Brava today involves a climb down a craggy cliff face overlooking the sea.

''In a way, it's good that it's hard to get there, because that's what allowed it to preserve such incredible, incredible finds,'' said Mariana Nabais, a postdoctoral researcher at the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution.

She and her team took sediments from the cave back to their field lab for examination, but Dr. Nabais and her colleagues recognised some bits of debris right away.

''You can immediately identify them on site as being crab claws,'' she said, adding, ''It was big surprise, especially because when we were digging there, we still didn't have that idea of Neanderthals actively eating shellfish.''

[ Kate Golembiewski ]


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!