Neanderthal dental DNA shows us the true paleo diet (we've got it a bit wrong)

If you're on the paleo diet, you might want to rethink what you're eating. Not all Neanderthals ate a meat-and-fat paleo diet. In fact, some were vegetarians.

In a recent study, researcher Laura Weyrich and her team, from the University of Adelaide in Australia, examined the dental plaque – and its DNA – of five Neanderthal skulls to see what these folks used to eat.

According to The Atlantic:

By harvesting and sequencing that DNA, Weyrich has shown that there was no such thing as a typical Neanderthal diet. One individual from Spy cave in Belgium mostly ate meat like woolly rhinoceros and wild sheep, as well as some edible mushrooms. But two individuals who lived in El Sidrón cave in Spain seemed to be entirely vegetarian. The team couldn't find any traces of meat in their diet, which consisted of mushrooms, pine nuts, tree bark, and moss. The Belgian Neanderthals hunted; the Spanish ones foraged.

Weyrich admits that science still isn't clear on how much we need to eat before it shows up in DNA, or whether some foods show up in DNA more than others.

"We don't know if we're looking at their last meal or random food debris from the last ten years."

But it seems a true paleo diet is simply foods in their natural state, whether it's a rump roast or a basket of sweet strawberries. Click here for the full story.

Photo: AguilaGib