Having the stomach for it


Having the stomach for it: a contribution to Neanderthal diets?

A Linnean Lunchtime Lecture

12:30 Wednesday 6th August 2014


Studying a creature's diet provides a great insight into its ecology and behaviour and much research has gone into reconstructing the diets of extinct species, including Neanderthals. Scientists have used a myriad of techniques to study Neanderthal diet from looking at dental wear and reconstructing habitat to analysing fossilised Neanderthal plaque and recent studies have shown that Neanderthals were eating (amongst other, more palatable things) distasteful and non-nutritional plants. How do we explain the presence of such plants in the diets of Neanderthals? Were they self-medicating? Were they eating these plants by accident? Or could the explanation be more unappetising?

Join us today as Laura Buck from the Natural History Museum, London talks us through her work on Neanderthals and explains the theories behind the presence of plants that may be unexpected in their diets. We will look at how studying modern human groups in remote parts of the world can give us an insight into how unusual plants can become part of a human's diet and be brought right up to date with research into Neanderthals and their diet.

Linnean Lunchtime Lectures are free and open to all.

Doors open at 12:00 and tea and coffee will be served in the library following the event.

Image © NASA

PLEASE NOTE: Straight after the Lunchtime Lecture there will be a Linnean Society Treasures Tour to the Linnean Society collections storeroom - places are limited and need to be reserved, click here for more details.