Stormy weather and high tides on the Spanish beach have revealed what paleontologists believe are the oldest traces of Neanderthals from the late Pleistocene. Two biologists strolling along the beach in the south last June discovered an ancient watering hole where the animals and ancestors of Homo sapiens came to drink, hunt, collect seafood, or simply frolic in the water. It is believed that some traces were left by a child who “jumped unevenly, as if dancing.”
The find was made on Matalascanas beach, which is between Huelva and Cadiz. The find is about 100,000 years ago, making it the oldest Neanderthal trace ever found.
Not only a trace of a child was found, but also of adult representatives. Of the 87 tracks, 37 were full enough to represent the size of a Neanderthal’s foot, ranging from 13 to 28 cm in length. This allowed the team to calculate that Neanderthals were between 103 and 183 cm tall, and most were 120-152 cm.
By studying the location of the tracks, scientists were able to better understand the behavior of a group of Neanderthals. Almost a quarter of the group were children, most of whose tracks were found at the very edge of the water. It became clear that prehistoric people lived in family groups. And children, perhaps, could be peculiar to dancing. The results of the work have been published in Scientific Reports.