Home / Funny / Viral / The Remains Of a 6-Year-Old Neanderthal Child With Down Syndrome Reveals The Caregiving Of Ancient Times


The remains of a Neanderthal child were discovered in 1989 during excavations at the Paleolithic cave site known as Cova Negra in Valencia, Spain. Although the fossilised bones may initially appear to be just more proof that these early human relatives' skulls formed, scientists have discovered congenital variations in the inner ear that are suggestive of Down's syndrome. According to a recent publication in Science Advances, the finding of a child with Down syndrome who lived to be six years old and their remains suggest that prehistoric Neanderthals shared responsibilities and provided selfless care.

An extra copy of a chromosome causes Down Syndrome, but most affected people can now lead happy, healthy lives with the right medical care and social support. However, scientists have speculated that in the past, individuals with the illness usually did not make it through infancy. However, the Valencian Neanderthal child's bones are not those of a baby.

The child lived for an estimated six or seven years, according to the researchers. In a similar vein, they think that the formation of its remains exclusively points to Down syndrome, ruling out other possibilities. The child's age suggests that they were able to outlive infancy thanks to a mother's loving care.

Although there has been prior evidence of Neanderthals showing compassion for one another, experts have disagreed about the degree of genuine altruism. Did Neanderthals only lend a hand to those who could repay them? This fresh data implies that the compassion was more widespread. A small disabled child would have needed care, and maybe the mother's peers would have had to step up to let her take care of the child.

The authors claim that because Neanderthals engaged in both collaborative parenting and caregiving together, "this shows] that both prosocial behaviours were part of a broader social adaptation of high selective value that must have been very similar to that of our species."

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