|Title||The consequences of Middle Paleolithic diets on pregnant Neanderthal women|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||In Press|
|Keywords||diet, meat, Neandertals|
Models of Neanderthal energetics and energy requirements suggest they required an average daily caloric intake well above the average for anatomically modern human foragers. The reasons stated for this include higher basic metabolic rates, less efficiency at thermoregulation, less efficiency at hunting, greater degrees of mobility, and reduced sexual division of labor in Neanderthal populations. These models suggest that Neanderthal Daily Energy Expenditure may have reached or exceeded 5500 calories per day. Given that most subsistence and isotope studies also suggest that Neanderthals focused their diet on large, terrestrial herbivores, this paper asks: what would be the nutritional consequences of such a diet on pregnant Neanderthal women? Applying a nutritional ecology perspective to the issue, a modeled diet consisting of 5500 calories per day derived exclusively from large, terrestrial herbivores indicates that such a diet would kill a pregnant Neanderthal woman and her developing fetus. This suggests that much remains to be learned about Neanderthal subsistence, mobility, and social relations, and that there is a long way to go before explaining the causes of Neanderthal extinction and modern human success in Europe and the Mediterranean region between 30,000 and 50,000 years ago.
|Short Title||Quaternary International|
The consequences of Middle Paleolithic diets on pregnant Neanderthal women
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