字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 In the late 1950s, high up in a mountain cave in Iraq, a skeleton was discovered that would drive us to re-think what it means to be human. The skeleton was not of a modern human, like us. Instead, it was one of at least 9 sets of remains of Neandertals. This particular specimen came to be known as Shanidar 1, and based on all of the evidence, he had lived a difficult life. By the time he died, maybe in his 40s, he had sustained a serious blow to his skull just above his left eye. He had lost his right forearm. And his bones bore the signs of painful degenerative joint disease throughout his right lower leg, possibly the result of a major injury to the right half of his body. Now, the point here is not that Shanidar 1 had sustained so many injuries and coped with so many ailments. Pathological conditions like his show up in ancient Homo sapiens pretty much as often as they do in Neandertals. I mean: Life back in the Pleistocene Epoch, I don't know if you remember, but it was hard for everyone. The important thing to note about Shanidar 1 is that all of his injuries had healed well before he died, perhaps many years before. For his remaining years, he probably couldn’t have moved on his own very freely, or very far. He likely had impaired vision and hearing. So how did he live so long? He must’ve been cared for, by his own kind. And at the time when Shanidar 1 was discovered, this was a pretty revolutionary idea. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Neandertals were thought to have been … primitive. Unintelligent, hunched-over … cavemen, for lack of a better word. But the discoveries made in that Iraqi cave provided some of the earliest clues that Neanderthals actually behaved -- and likely thought and felt -- a lot like we do. Now, it’s usually very difficult to figure out how a hominin behaved, just based on its bones. But oddly enough, one of the major lines of evidence about what Neandertals were really like has come from an unlikely source: skeletal pathology, the marks left on bones by illness or injury. Lots of hominin remains that we find from the Pleistocene show evidence of things like dental problems, healed breaks, and osteoarthritis. These pathologies run the gamut from just annoying to downright life-threatening. And over the nearly two centuries that we’ve been digging up Neandertals, we’ve realized that there was no way some of these individuals could’ve survived without serious, hands-on help from members of their own groups. So, instead of being primitive cavemen, Neandertals like Shanidar-1 -- and many more like him -- have taught us an enormous amount about ourselves. Because it turns out, that big jumble of wonderful things that we love about ourselves -- the humaneness, the compassion, and the kindness that we call “humanity” -- was probably not unique to us, at all. More than 40 years before Shanidar 1 was unearthed, another Neandertal specimen was discovered that had a powerful impact on how we think about Neandertals, even today. It was 1908 when the first nearly complete Neandertal skeleton was discovered in a small cave in France near the town of La Chapelle-aux-Saints. The bones were about 60,000 years old and belonged to an adult male who became known as the Old Man of La Chapelle. And although he’s called “Old,” estimates of his age vary a lot. Some anthropologists think he was between 25 and 35, based on the condition of things like his hip joints, but others think he was over 40 … ...which isn’t very old by my standards, but it would’ve made him an old Neandertal. His skeleton was described by French anthropologist Marcellin Boule in a detailed monograph published in 1911. He compared the Old Man’s bones to those of the few other Neandertals known at the time, and to the skeletons of modern humans and apes. His meticulous descriptions were a big step forward for the field of paleoanthropology; but his interpretation of the Old Man's anatomy would be hard to shake. He reconstructed the Neandertal as a slouching creature with bent knees, unable to even stand fully upright - the same kind of primitive caveman that Neandertals are still often thought as today. It wasn’t until the 1950s that ideas about Neandertals really started to change. The decades after the discovery of the Old Man had seen a boom in the excavation of earlier hominins, like the australopithecines and Homo erectus. And once they were welcomed into our family tree, well, the Neandertals stopped seeming so strange and primitive. And it was while this rehabilitation of the Neandertals’ image was going on that an anthropologist named Ralph Solecki led a team into the Zagros Mountains of Iraq, to excavate a site called Shanidar Cave. There they discovered the remains of at least seven adult Neandertals and two infants, dated to three different occupation periods between 100,000 and just 45,000 years ago. And one of the striking things about these skeletons was that at least five of them - all of adult males - showed evidence of pathological conditions. They ranged from relatively minor, like a fully healed scalp wound and osteoarthritis in the hands, to the kinds of things that would land you or me in the emergency room. For example, the individual known as Shanidar 3 - a male in his early 40s - probably broke, or at least badly sprained, his right ankle at some point in his life. And, while it did heal, he ended up with bony spurs and degenerative joint disease in that ankle that probably caused him pain and limited his mobility. Shanidar 3 also has a groove on the top edge of his left ninth rib - evidence of a wound deep enough to have potentially collapsed his lung. Based on the condition of the bone around the groove, it looks like he lived for at least a few weeks, and maybe up to two months, after the injury. And of course, once the scientists studied Shanidar 1, they found that life for Neandertals could be even more taxing. Like Shanidar 3, Shanidar 1 was an adult male between 35 and 50 years old. But long before he died, he suffered a crushing fracture to the side of his left eye socket which might’ve caused blindness or a brain injury. He also had bony growths in his ear canals, which probably impacted his hearing. Meanwhile, the bones of his right shoulder and upper arm were smaller than those of his left, possibly because of a nerve injury and paralysis that happened early in his life. And his right humerus had been broken and healed in two places, with the bone ending just above the elbow joint. This means that either his right forearm was amputated in an injury, or the humerus was so badly broken that the two ends didn’t heal back together, and the lower part of the arm was somehow removed later. Then there were the problems in his lower body. He had a healed fracture in his right foot and a painful degenerative joint disease throughout that foot, ankle, and knee, possibly caused by some serious trauma to the right half of his body. So, when you put all of the evidence together, it seems that Shanidar 1 may have been blind in one eye and deaf in at least one ear. He probably walked with a bad limp, which made getting around hard and likely painful. And he had only his left hand, which limited his ability to perform lots of tasks. It took decades for experts to find and describe all of the pathologies that Shanidar-1 suffered from. But from the very beginning, Solecki saw something striking among all of those injuries: In those bones, he saw the very humanity of the Shanidar Neandertals. Based on all the healed injuries on the skeletons, Solecki concluded that many of these Neandertals would’ve needed extensive care and accommodation by their groups. For example, in the short term, the broken bones of Shanidar 1 would’ve kept him immobile for weeks, if not months. So his group would’ve had to feed him and help him get around. And over the longer term, the loss of his hand, his compromised senses, and the extensive osteoarthritis in his right leg likely meant that he couldn’t help with some of the tasks that were important to the survival of the group, like hunting. So instead, his group would’ve had to compensate for this in some way, like giving him things to do that didn’t require moving around and keeping him out of dangerous situations, like encounters with predators. He might’ve even slowed the group down - but they didn’t leave him behind. In 1971, Solecki published a book on the Shanidar skeletons making the case that Neandertals were not dumb cavemen. They must have been human-like in their capacity for compassion, in order for Shanidar 1 to have survived well into adulthood. And with this changing view of Neandertals, the time was ripe for scientists to reconsider the Old Man of La Chapelle. In 1985, anthropologist Erik Trinkaus published a paper that revisited Boule’s original description of the hominin. He showed that Boule’s reconstruction of the Old Man wasn’t affected by the Old Man’s pathologies, as some had argued. Instead, he said that Boule was just flat out wrong. But, like Shanidar 1, the Old Man did turn out to have suffered from many ailments, and those too provided even more important clues about what life was like for Neandertals in the Pleistocene. For one thing, the Old Man had lost maybe as many as 15 teeth well before he died. He also had severe osteoarthritis in much of his neck and shoulders that likely were painful and affected his ability to move his upper body. His left hip socket was also severely affected by osteoarthritis and a chronic bone infection that might’ve formed an abscess. So, in recent years, experts have suggested that, like Shanidar 1, the Old Man must have needed help from members of his group to survive. To make up for his tooth loss, for example, he might’ve needed help with eating, like preparing foods that he could chew. The osteoarthritis in his upper back and shoulders limited his ability to hunt or carry loads. And to accommodate his arthritic hip, his group might’ve had to move slower, move around less, or help him get around. And these would’ve been serious limitations for a group of hominins in the Pleistocene. We know that Neandertals lived active, mobile lives that came with a lot of physical demands. They successfully adapted to living in mountainous terrain and harsh climates. And we know that life back then was hard for Homo sapiens too. Adult mortality patterns and the frequency of pathological conditions are pretty much the same across both groups. But it’s only been within the last decade or so that anthropologists have started to really study care-giving among our hominin relatives. And Shanidar 1 and the Old Man of La Chapelle are prime case studies; the very fact that they survived as long as they did can be seen as evidence of the care that they received. So, of course, we should still be proud of what we call our “humanity” -- our compassion, our empathy, our ability to act in the interest of others rather than ourselves. It’s a key part of what makes us human. But it seems that those qualities that we prize about ourselves have not always been exclusive to us. Even though we’re the only humans left, we may not have invented what it means to be human. Ok now Kallie wanted me to remind you that Another key trait of hominins is personal adornment! So might I suggest our new Eons socks, or shirts, or enamel pins? You can find them all at DFTBA.com. Also big thanks to this month’s Eontologists: Patrick Seifert, Jake Hart, Jon Davison Ng, Sean Dennis, Hollis, and Steve! To become an Eonite, pledge your support at patreon.com/eons! All membership levels have access to our Discord, where Kallie and I hang out, and a podcast only for Eonites! And as always, thank you for joining me in the Konstantin Haase Studio. Be sure to subscribe at youtube.com/eons.