Care for the Injured

Unlike most of our hominid ancestors, apart from Cro-Magnon man, Neanderthals depicted human qualities, because they cared for their wounded and disabled, and buried their dead. There have been many archaeological discoveries to support this. A major find was the "Old Man" at La-Chappelle-aux-Saints. This person was about forty-years-old, equivalent to an octogenarian today, and had suffered from severe paralysis and arthritis, including a broken jaw and missing teeth. Apparently, he had been taken care of in order to survive as long as he did. Someone else had to provide his food, since he could not hunt, feed him and probably pre-chew his food, and assist him in moving about.

Another example of care for the disabled and elderly is the Shanidar I specimen, found in Shanidar Cave in the Zagros Mountains of Iraq. According to Ralph Solecki, the archaeologist who headed the Shanidar project, this individual, who lived to be around the age of forty, was blind in his left eye, suffered from arthritis, and his atrophied right arm had been amputated. This Neanderthal "could barely forage and fend for himself, and we must assume that he was accepted and supported by his people up to the day he died" (Solecki 1971:196). Otherwise, he would not have been able to endure for so long the heavy rigors of Neanderthal life. Although severely disabled, Shanidar I was still able to perform some daily activities. This is evident in the severe amount of wear upon his front teeth, which are literally worn down to the root. "It presumable indicates that in lieu of a right arm, [Shanidar I] used his jaws for grasping, while manipulating with his good left arm and hand" (Solecki 1971:196).

Shanidar I's atrophied and 
amputated arm
 Shanidar I more than likely had much aid from his clan. Shanidar I's teeth

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