Research into UK: Neanderthals in the Upper Nitra hunted Horses and Rhinoceros.They had also Appetite on Bone Marrow

03. 02. 2015

lebka hyeny - pohľad zhora, autor Tomáš ČeklovskýBratislava, February 3rd, 2015: Horses and possibly rhino along with other larger ungulates (buffalo, bison, deer) were the main sources of food for Neanderthals in Slovakia. This comes out of the unique research of the gradual candidate at Comenius University in Bratislava (UK) Thomas Čeklovský, led by doc. Mgr. Martin Sabol, PhD. It is also interesting that Neanderthals liked to eat bone marrow.

When examining over 11,500 animal bones and teeth (and their fragments) of Prepoštská jaskyňa in Bojnice (from the period before about 40,000 years ago), Mgr. Thomas Čeklovský, doctoral degree student of palaeontology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences UK (PriF UK), has found out in cooperation with other experts, the main hunted animals of Neanderthals in Slovakia were wild horses, also furred rhinoceros, bison, bovid, deer, reindeers and even rarer furred mammoths. Also interesting is the occurrence of a lion and a bear. Another founded animals were other carnivorous animals and rabbits along with rodents, birds, snakes and frogs.

The primary way of looking for some food of Neanderthal was organized hunting. It was related to the development of human society, with the general intellectual development of man, which led to the improvement of manufacturing stone industry and to more practical use of the fire. They were becoming increasingly dependent on the results of the hunt, and the significant component of obtaining their food consists of the collection of roots, plants and fruits. Camping sites were selected at random, but with the intention of the knowledge about the terrain and space, in which a group of hunters and gatherers have moved.

On the bones are found the intervention of human activity in the form of numerous notches and sheeting. Many bones were found burned. Most often these interventions occurred on the bones of large animals such as the mammoth, rhinoceros, bison, bovid and horse. "Neanderthals scraped off from the bones the meat and deliberately smashed long bones to obtain the bone marrow (marrow of bones). The burning of the bones shows that the meat could also be partially heat prepared, "explains Thomas Čeklovský of PriF UK.

It is also interesting that on some bones were found traces of activity of predators, respectively eaters of carcases, in the form of traces of gnaws and bites. The main origin of these tracks are hyenas, but is not also excluded an activity of other carnivores such as wolves.

Prepoštská jaskyňa in Bojnice represents the Palaeolithic settlement in the Upper Nitra. The area consists of a huge cave overhang with 8 m long cave area within travertine pieces, on which stands the Bojnice castle nowadays. This is one of the most important Neanderthal settlement with micoquiens culture in Slovakia.

Neanderthals used the Prepoštská jaskyňa as a transient complex, and it can seasonally be used by different bands of hunters and gatherers, who had to adapt to local conditions. Settlements were short-term and during the absence of man cave was probably as a hyena den.

"I am glad that our gradual students are successful in their research and contribute not only to the knowledge of mankind, but at the same time to spread the reputation of our alma mater," says the Rector of UK prof. Mgr. Karol Mičieta, PhD.

Graph showing the total number of animal bones which were found (author Thomas Čeklovský).

Graf znázorňujúci celkový počet kostí nájdených zvierat

Press release

PhDr. Andrea Földváryová
Head of Department of Public Relations

Comenius University in Bratislava

Published by: MI

Translated by: LŠ

Biological Sciences

Natural sciences