Tidings | Discovery Shows Penicillin Was Being Used 40,000 Years Ago

Tidings | Discovery Shows Penicillin Was Being Used 40,000 Years Ago

A stunning discovery has shown that neanderthals were somehow utilizing Penicillin 40,000 years before its discovery, baffling the conventional understanding that took neanderthals as having a far simpler lifestyle.

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Dorothy Hodgkin Model of Penicillin
The model of Penicillin created by Dorothy Hodgkin

Researchers examined the dental tartar of 40,000 year old Neanderthal specimens to come to this conclusion. The DNA sequenced from that tartar has led to a multitude of previously missing details about the Neanderthal lifestyle in central Europe.

The biggest discovery is that the Neanderthals, at least in that region, were very competent in terms of medicating themselves. Aside from the remarkable discovery of the Penicillin in the dental tartar examined, many other nature-based medicines were discovered, including an Aspirin-like compound that forms naturally in the local region.

Their overall findings showed that the Neanderthals, far from the barbaric way they’ve been depicted, were actually engaging in rather advanced medical practices to treat themselves for a variety of illnesses. This paints a substantially different picture of the Neanderthals which conventional understanding has brought us to know.

What we’re seeing now is an incredibly competent variation of ourselves, one that doesn’t seem to fit into the primitive pigeon hole that they’ve long been relegated to.

Prof Alan Cooper, director of the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, comments that:

“Their behavior and their diet looks a lot more sophisticated and a lot more like us in many ways.”

“Certainly our findings contrast markedly with the rather simplistic view of our ancient relatives in popular imagination.”

It was also discovered that certain groups of Neanderthals, particularly around the region of ancient Spain, were eating a rigorously vegan diet of barks, moss, and local nuts. This contrasts rather sharply from the wolf-like ancestors often pictured whos’ lifestyle revolved around hunting down large game animals and collectively devouring them before the next hunt.

We’ll continue following this story and update it as more information arrives.

All images are under the Public Domain or are being used through a Creative Commons License 

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