Neanderthal children may have cut their teeth earlier than modern humans Science and technology news

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New research sheds light on the differences between how human and Neanderthal children developed after birth.

Researchers at the University of Kent’s School of Anthropology believe that modern human children can develop over a much slower and longer period compared to the now extinct species or subspecies of man.

Using the latest technology to examine the baby teeth of Neanderthals who lived as late as 120,000 years ago, researchers found evidence that they germinated quite early.

Neanderthals are an extinct subspecies of man
Neanderthals are an extinct species or subspecies of man

Anthropologists know very little about what life was like for Neanderthal children in the months before and shortly after birth.

But the new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, based on the baby teeth of three Neanderthals, provides some insights.

Milk teeth are useful for researchers because they begin to form before an infant is born and then continue to develop as part of a growing organism.

Due to the way the body lays down layers of enamel, baby teeth effectively keep records of their own growth that are preserved quite well as fossils.

Dr. Alessia Nova explained, “We used state-of-the-art non-destructive virtual histology that relies on synchrotron radiation to examine the inside of baby milk teeth. We were able to identify the exact moment these Neanderthals were born.”

Her colleague Dr Patrick Mahoney added: “Our study has revealed that these Neanderthals had an accelerated pattern of tooth development compared to a typical modern human child. This probably enabled them to process more demanding supplements at an earlier age compared to a typical modern one. human child. “

These findings are consistent with other studies that had suggested that Neanderthals had high brain growth during their second year, which probably generated large energy costs.

According to the team at Kent, these costs could “have been compensated for Neanderthal infants by their ability to process more demanding supplements at a relatively early age, thereby providing the increased energy with rapid brain growth required”.

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