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Neanderthals have a lot of "surfer ear," says study



  Neanderthal man with child
Reconstruction of a Neanderthal man with a child in the Natural History Museum Vienna. (Source: Wolfgang Sauber / Wikimedia Commons

Being a surfer or diver sometimes has a curious side effect: the growth of small, bony pimples in the ear canal, the result of chronic exposure to cold water and air. [19659005] They are often referred to as "Surfer's Ear" refers to the fact that it is common in surfers, but it could well be a more appropriate term for the disease, based on new findings from a team of scientists: Neanderthal Ear The old hominins were also often plagued by this disease, and long before anyone Asia: It's a testament to the fact that the old human cousins ​​have probably spent quite a bit of time in the water to collect food, the team says repeatedly irritated over long pe periods, the perpetrators are often humid , wind-cooled ears that last over a decade or more.

They are often not a health problem, but an exostosis can block your hearing and may lead to infection if it gets big enough. Today, a simple surgical procedure is enough to treat the bulbous growths.

Neanderthals, of course, had no advanced medications, so as soon as they got the surfer's ear, they stuck to it. And many actually stayed with them. In 23 Neanderthal skulls researchers from the US and France found in about half exostoses. They published their findings Wednesday in the journal PLoS One.

This number is far higher than in today's population or even among old people thousands of years ago, scientists say. Due to the small sample size, it is difficult to extrapolate the surfer's ear frequency to Neanderthals. But it is a sign that they have seen far more of the disease than we have.

  Neanderthal exostoses
Bone growths on Neanderthal skulls indicate that they often have a "surfer ear" (Credit): Trinkaus et al./PLoS One)

Exostoses expected [19659012] Why Neanderthals got the earplugs is uncertain, though it's probably an indication that they've spent a lot of time in the water. Other human exostosis studies have shown that they are more common in people near water, especially in middle and lower latitudes. Further north, researchers believe, the water was too cold to even go inside.

The best reason for a Neanderthal to go into the water is that there is food. Presumably, primitive people did not have much time to romp and swim. Finding so many exostoses in the Neanderthals is a sign that they are often eaten in waters, the researchers say. In this case, this would be a new insight into their daily activities and further evidence that complements our understanding of Neanderthal behavior.

But there are other explanations, including the fact that Neanderthals could simply have been more predisposed to exostoses than humans. Her genetic predisposition might have cursed her with a higher rate of bony ear bulges, even if they did not go into the water any more than humans did. based on our understanding of today's growth rates. It was probably nothing but a hassle for the old hominins, another danger of aging in the Pleistocene.


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