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Geochemistry

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AFP

“Researchers dug into the sediment and ground the samples to a powder for analysis at a sophisticated Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) lab,” reports the AFP on new research that indicates that the diet of the Neanderthals included plants, as well as animals. The findings contradict the prior belief that Neanderthals were almost exclusively carnivorous.

The Washington Post

“Chemical analysis of poop samples discovered at an archaeological site in Alicante, Spain, suggests Neanderthals may have enjoyed significant servings of plants too,” writes Washington Post reporter Gail Sullivan of new findings from MIT researchers concerning the diets of Neanderthals. 

Salon

In a piece for Salon, Sarah Gray reports that a team of researchers, “discovered 50,000-year-old human poop while excavating the ancient Neanderthal site El Salt, located in Spain near the port of Alicante on the Mediterranean.” Analysis of the fecal matter showed that the Neanderthals may have eaten more vegetables than previously thought.  

NPR

Nicholas St. Fleur of NPR examines new findings from MIT researchers concerning the Neanderthal diet. "This opens a new window into Neanderthal diet because it's the first time we actually know what they digested and consumed," Ainara Sistiaga says.

Boston Globe

Carolyn Johnson writes for The Boston Globe about MIT’s findings that the diets of Neanderthals included plants in addition to animals. The results, obtained by analyzing fecal samples, undermine previous beliefs that Neanderthals were carnivorous. 

Al Jazeera America

Al Jazeera America reports on research by scientists from MIT that indicates that Neanderthals ate plants, contrary to earlier beliefs about their diets. The researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing ancient fecal samples.

Bloomberg

“Neanderthals spent at least some time digesting plants, according to a new study that analyzed fossilized ancient feces to find the most direct evidence yet of a varied diet for man’s ancestors,” writes Bloomberg News reporter Marie French. 

USA Today

Traci Watso reports for USA Today about new evidence uncovered by a team of researchers from MIT that could be the earliest known evidence that the Neanderthals were, “omnivores who ate significant quantities of plant-based food.” 

Los Angeles Times

Monte Morin of the Los Angeles Times reports on new MIT researching showing the Neanderthals did eat vegetation. “Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, researchers studied the powdered samples for traces of stanols and sterols, lipids that are formed in the intestines when gut bacteria act on plant and animal matter,” Morin writes. 

HuffPost

Writing for The Huffington Post, Jacqueline Howard reports that an analysis of ancient fecal matter by MIT researchers shows that the Neanderthals ate more vegetables than originally thought. 

BBC News

Jonathan Webb of BBC News reports on research showing that the Neanderthals ate vegetables. "If you find it in the faeces, you are sure that it was ingested," Ainara Sistiaga explains. "This molecular fossil is perfect to try to know the proportion of both food sources in a Neanderthal meal."