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Neanderthal diets in central and southeastern Mediterranean Iberia

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Abstract

During recent decades, Neanderthal diet has been a major research topic in palaeoanthropology. This has been accelerated by the maturation of different techniques, which have produced a plethora of new information. However, this proliferation of data has led to confusing and contradictory results. Furthermore, most of the ecological dietary studies have been carried out on specimens drawn from different time periods and regions, almost exclusively those characterized by cold, open environmental conditions. Subsistence models based on these fragmentary data have been applied to Neanderthals living in a variety of different regions and environments, even though their dietary strategies may have been as variable as regions they inhabited. In this paper we integrate different dietary approaches (studies of the zooarchaeology, stable isotopes and plant remains) from the central and southeastern Mediterranean coast of Iberia in order to develop a broader and more complex picture of Neanderthal diet in different Mediterranean environmental conditions. Our results suggest that there may have been some minor dietary variation due to climatic or environmental differences, but that Neanderthal diet focussed on large terrestrial game, supplemented by plant foods when these were available. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

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Salazar-García, D. C., Power, R. C., Sanchis Serra, A., Villaverde, V., Walker, M. J., & Henry, A. G. (2013). Neanderthal diets in central and southeastern Mediterranean Iberia. Quaternary International, 318, 3–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2013.06.007

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