First First Aid

New evidence suggests Neanderthals might have had a better handle on healthcare than previously thought.

In a recent study, archaeologist Penny Spikins proposes that compassion and know-how contributed to practical healthcare among Neanderthals. Ancient hominid remains with traumatic injuries like skull fractures and broken ribs lacked evidence of infection, disfigurement or massive blood loss, meaning Neanderthals had some grasp of natural medicines, splints and caring for their injured.

“We can infer from the fact that they survived that they must have been helped by others—and in some cases that help must have been knowledgeable and quite well planned,” Spikins says.

The Atlantic

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