October 15, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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The first males may be dormant in winter

The first males may be dormant in winter

This is a big question for researchers: How did our ancestors survive the extreme winter? Scientists began answering this month. What if the first humans were dormant?

The hypothesis looks like “science fiction”, identify the authors of the study published in the journal Anthropology. But after all, most mammals are dormant. Hostel and hedgehogs benefit from slowing down their metabolism during the winter. They lower their body temperature and respiratory rate, and attract their fat reserves for months. It’s Technique Allows them to get out of the cold and lack of food.

And it is not impossible for our ancestors to use it. Researchers have studied 400,000-year-old skeletons from the Sima de los Husos (“cave of bones”). This cave is one of the richest places in northern Spain Fossils In this world. It is believed to contain the oldest known remains of Neanderthals.

Common lesions with other mammals

On these bones, the researchers found lesions that disrupted bone growth for several months. These lesions are exactly the same in animals that practice hibernation. So the theory of scientists is this: for months each year, our ancestors were immersed in the metabolic conditions that help them survive. Ice ages And without food by drawing their fat reserves, ”they write.

The hypothesis has not yet been confirmed. But the first results are conclusive: “Our work on the consequences of these bone lesions is consistent with genetic arguments, and the hominids of Sima de los Husos lived during a severe glacier”, the researchers argued. The presentation of their study.

Counter-hypotheses

The authors do not escape certain counter-arguments. For example, People Inuit and Sami, who were living at the same time, did not fall asleep. However, they faced the same weather conditions.

For this phenomenon, the researchers put forward an explanation: according to them, fatty fish and reindeer were used as Inuit and Sami food in winter. So they do not need hibernation. In contrast, around the Sima de los Hugos area, food is very rare. The men there were forced to accept.

“The only solution is a dormant strategy to spend months in the cave during the freezing winter”, the authors of the study insisted, whose comments were reported Guardian. Other analyzes will take place in the coming months to confirm or confirm this hypothesis.

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