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12 Interesting Facts About Neanderthals

6. Neanderthals Cared for their Own

Remember how we said Neanderthals might have ridden reindeer rodeo-style? As awesome as such a stunt is, it's a reminder of how dangerous Neanderthal life was, and how common serious injuries must have been. That's why it's so heartwarming to know that their long life span — an average of 30 years — suggests they actively cared for their sick, elderly, and wounded instead of literally abandoning them to the wolves. If a member of the tribe did die, Neanderthals buried them (the pictured diagram depicts a buried specimen nicknamed Moshe). They may have even had funeral rites, as many skeletons have been found buried with tools, flowers, and other items. Humans don't have a monopoly on empathy, that's for sure.

Tags: science, slideshows, cool things, facts, dna, cloning

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Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

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