Climate change was bad for Neanderthal children in the Pleistocene! And so was the lead-poisoning!

Guest commentary by David Middleton


In addition to an email from Rush Holt encouraging me to vote in the midterm elections (I already voted against every Democrat on the ballot), The American Association for the Advancement of Science in America clued me into this fascinating article:

Neanderthal children shivered and suffered in ancient Europe

By Ann Gibbons Oct. 31, 2018 , 2:05 PM

Pity the poor Neanderthal mother: She had to nurse her children through colder winters and more illnesses than the mothers of most prehistoric modern humans in Europe, according to a new study of the teeth of two Neanderthal kids who lived 250,000 years ago in France. And both Neanderthal toddlers suffered from repeated lead exposure—the earliest known evidence of lead poisoning in members of the human family. The study offers a startlingly intimate view of the lives of ancient children.

The study is “mind blowing” because it gives such a detailed record of how harsh winters, the water supply, and nursing duration can influence growth in early childhood, says paleoanthropologist Leslea Hlusko of the University of California, Berkeley, who was not part of the team. The researchers “provide powerful insight into some of the most intimate moments of life—the relationship between the Neanderthal as a baby and its mama.”

Researchers have long known that Neanderthals, with their barrel chests and robust limbs, were well-adapted for survival in the frigid temperatures of Europe, where their fossils date back more than 400,000 years. But it’s been difficult to tie climate events to individual Neanderthals’ lives or even to specific fossil sites.

Now, researchers have shown the direct effects of climate on the lives of two young children…


Science! As in she blinded me with.

Who would have guessed?   Neanderthal children in Europe shivered and suffered during the penultimate Pleistocene glacial stage (ice age to non-geologists).  Who could have possibly guessed that primitive human-ish children, with no adequate housing, would have been cold during the ICE AGE?  Pleistocene glacial stages were only just about the coldest climates of the entire Phanerozoic Eon… With such low atmospheric CO2 levels that C3 plants were literally starving.  The plight of the ice age Neanderthal children and C3 plants almost make Gorebal Warming and CO2 greening sound like good things.  But the “experts” say otherwise.

Is there ever a time when climate change is good for children?  Is there some child-friendly Goldilocks climate?

And why in the heck were Neanderthals poisoning their children with lead?  They hadn’t invented guns back then.  They didn’t need radiation shielding.  No pencils.  Did they decorate their caves with lead-based paints?

Repeated lead exposures during childhood in the two Neanderthals are the earliest such evidence in hominin remains. The intensity of lead signals in prominent bands exceeds levels elsewhere in the teeth by a factor of 10. These high and acute lead lines are indicative of short-term exposure from ingestion of contaminated food or water or inhalation from fires containing lead (27). Lead can also come from mothers’ milk (28), but the divergent patterns of barium and lead in Payre 6 and the acute lead bands in both individuals suggest that mothers’ milk was not the primary source of exposure. It is plausible that the lead in Payre 6 came from nonmilk liquids beginning at ~2.5 months of age, increasing with solid food consumption in the winter from 9 months of age and, again, in the late winter/early spring of the following year. At least two lead mines are located within 25 km of the site (29), consistent with estimates of routine foraging distances (11). Periods of lead exposure during the childhoods of these two French Neanderthals are remarkable, as biogenic lead bands were not apparent in the ~100-ka-old Belgian individual discussed above, and decades of research have shown that there is no safe level for lead in humans and other animals.

Lead exposures did not result in the formation of obvious developmental defects in the Payre Neanderthals’ enamel. We found a marked defect in Payre 6 coincident with a short-term barium elevation at approximately 701 days of age (Fig. 3, A and B). It appears that during the coldest time of winter, this young individual experienced heightened skeletal remineralization. Trace elements can be released into the bloodstream from skeletal stores, exemplified by the phenomenon of lead mobilization in parallel with calcium during human lactation (28). The pattern of acute barium elevation coincident with a developmental defect in Payre 6 is akin to that seen in captive rhesus macaques after they had ceased nursing (17). Several of these macaques lost weight during severe illnesses, mobilizing trace elements that had been stored in their bones, which were recorded in concurrently forming tooth enamel and dentine. While the Payre 6 individual appeared to have continued nursing throughout the disruption at ~701 days of age, the short spike in barium concentration and the presence of a strong enamel disruption are more consistent with acute illness and associated weight loss than a transient increase in maternal milk consumption.

The approach detailed here allows more robust explorations of Neanderthal paleobiology and prehistoric environmental conditions than conventional assessment of associated fauna or geological signatures (30). Broader applications may also help to clarify the purported relationship between climate variation and technological innovation in members of the genus Homo (12). Although it is unclear whether and how cold stress or neurotoxicant exposure routinely affected the health of Neanderthals, scholars have noted the frequent occurrence of developmental defects in their teeth (2331). Several common explanations for these defects, including weaning stress and illness, can now be probed through developmentally informed barium mapping. While diagenetic modification may prohibit characterizations of teeth interred near naturally occurring barium sources, the quantification of diagenetically resistant oxygen isotopes provides complementary insights into the lives of young hominins.

Smith et al., 2018

Did Neanderthal mining practices cause the climate change that made their children shiver and suffer?  Unfortunately the lead mine reference is from 1961, in French and I can’t find it.  Presumably these were not Neanderthal mines. Just a notation that lead mines were within a standard Neanderthal commute from this archaeological resource play.

“Traditionally, people thought  occurred in populations only after industrialization, but these results show it happened prehistorically, before lead had been widely released into the environment,” said one of the study’s lead authors, Christine Austin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Our team plans to analyze more teeth from our ancestors and investigate how lead exposures may have affected their health and how that may relate to how our bodies respond to lead today.”

Read more at:

If they only had a Neanderthal EPA to protect them from themselves and the ice age.

Figure 1. Lead (Pb) is generally considered to be one of the most toxic pollutants. Lead pollution dates back at least to Roman times. It appears that lead pollution peaked in the mid-20th century and have been dropping like a lead weight since the 1960’s, totally ignoring the population “explosion” and the EPA (which did not commence its mischief until 1970). Lead levels are currently about where they were before the industrial revolution.

All sarcasm aside… It’s a very interesting paper!



McConnell, Joseph R., Andrew I. Wilson, Andreas Stohl, Monica M. Arienzo, Nathan J. Chellman, Sabine Eckhardt, Elisabeth M. Thompson, A. Mark Pollard, Jørgen Peder Steffensen.  “Lead pollution recorded in Greenland ice indicates European emissions tracked plagues, wars, and imperial expansion during antiquity.”  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 2018, 201721818; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1721818115

Smith, T.M. et al., “Wintertime stress, nursing, and lead exposure in Neanderthal children,” Science Advances (2018).

Featured Image


The Skeletons of Shanidar Cave, Smithsonian Magazine
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 10:17 am

I can imagine someone getting poisoned by using cinnabar, a mercury ore, as decorative pigment, but lead?

Jeff Labute
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 10:40 am

Galena is a significant ore of lead and silver. Would be cool if we found some silver coins with images of Thag and Ack on them.

Jimmy Haigh
Reply to  Jeff Labute
November 1, 2018 8:42 pm

Why no mention of Thagessa or Ackessa?…

John Tillman
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
November 1, 2018 8:44 pm

Because before the ascension of Gaia, the Mother Goddess, overthrowing Trumpos, the testosterone poisoned god.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 10:56 am

… drinking the water that trickles out of the crack in the back of the cave wall, rather than traipsing through the cold or distance to get to the stream flows?

(mercury may have been there as well, but it doesn’t show up in the teeth?)

Reply to  DonM
November 1, 2018 11:47 am

Yes that would make the most sense. As a mother with a baby/small child would not want to take their child out into harsh weather if they could avoid it.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  taxed
November 2, 2018 4:37 am

It is plausible that the lead in Payre 6 came from —————- solid food consumption in the winter from 9 months of age and, again, in the late winter/early spring of the following year.

In the winter time and/or in the late winter/early spring is when young children are most susceptible to becoming ill or sick …… and we wouldn’t have a clue what the Neanderthal mothers were feeding their sick children to cure their ailments.

Reply to  DonM
November 1, 2018 1:22 pm

Wouldn’t the streams be mostly frozen anyway?

John Tillman
Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 1, 2018 1:35 pm

Not in summer.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 3:07 pm

I like beer, so I’m thirsty all seasons.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 8:51 pm

Be glad you don’t live in the Paleolithic!

Pop Piasa
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 10:21 pm

Or during US prohibition…

Jimmy Haigh
Reply to  DonM
November 1, 2018 8:49 pm

My geology professor at Strathclyde University, Mike Russel – a great bloke – told us the story of a mine in Ireland at Gortdrum. They were exploring Ireland for lead and zinc deposits – (there is a huge world class mine at Navan) – and there was a small copper/mercury deposit at Gortdrum which had been worked out. The farm on the area was deserted and couldn’t find the owner. They eventually found out that the owner was in a lunatic asylum. The well intersected the ore body…

Stanley Parks
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
November 1, 2018 11:40 pm

The same story was relayed to our MSc course in 1981. We concluded that a contour map of idiocy in Ireland might help identify base metal exploration targets!

Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
November 2, 2018 8:50 am

Oh, dear.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 11:13 am

Artificial sweetener?

Pat Frank
Reply to  Jax
November 1, 2018 11:55 am

Neanderthalers were clearly too primitive to know to take the lead out of their gasoline.

R Shearer
Reply to  Pat Frank
November 1, 2018 5:32 pm

At least they didn’t have to suffer from gasohol or E85.

Ron Long
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 11:51 am

How about uranium oxides, Tom? Indigenous peoples in the Americas also painted their faces with bright yellow and green uranium oxides. With the advantage of putting a scintillometer and dosimeter against a variety of uranium oxide types I can say the readings never got into the danger level, however. However, I did have a personal pocket dosimeter sound an overdose alarm on a commercial flight at high altitude and high south latitude. Wonder what future studies will say about pilots?

Reply to  Ron Long
November 1, 2018 5:08 pm

Uranium oxide is barely more radioactive than background radiation. The radioactive fraction is less than 0.001% of the total. Even the radioactive portion isn’t all that radioactive.

Reply to  Ron Long
November 2, 2018 9:25 am

Natural uranium’s radiation is in the form of alpha particles, which are stopped by the top layer of skin.

Mike G
Reply to  oeman50
November 3, 2018 6:24 pm

Unless ingested before the emmision.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 12:32 pm

Mildly alkaline water passing through lead bearing ore will leach lead into the water. The same thing happened in Flint Michigan when they used untreated river water through lead pipes.
There is no need to blame any modern mechanism.

Other than speculative assumptions there is no way on earth to know whether the children were shivering due to weather events any more than we know whether their mother was ugly or even who their fathers were.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
November 1, 2018 3:00 pm

They treated the water. The treated the hell out of it. They just didn’t do it correctly.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
November 4, 2018 5:55 am

What do you mean, rocketscientist? Clearly from the painting above, you can see that the mother was lovely and feminine, while the men were ugly, unkempt gorrila-like creatures in the process of creating the framework for centuries of patriarchal tyranny.

Isn’t it obvious?

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 2:29 pm
I’m certain the Neanderthals weren’t in to wine making as the above link suggested that many of the Roman upper class found a way to sweeten their food or drink by boiling grape mash in lead pots resulting in what was termed “sapa” the first artificial sweetener. The comparable tests to re-create the sapa suggested that the lead contamination was 2900 parts per billion 1000 times the safe level in most countries.
This probably led to many of Roman Hierarchy going mad!! Caligula comes to mind.
Lead occurs in nature as PbS or in some other soluble compounds PbCO3, PbCl or Lead Acetate.
If the Neanderthals had stone or clay pots to boil contaminated water for food prep perhaps they might have stumbled upon a way to make “sapa”.
Most likely soluble lead compounds in contaminated water was enough to do the trick.

Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
November 1, 2018 9:13 pm

Do elevated lead levels affect sperm counts, serum testosterone or estrogen concentrations, Pituitary sex hormones like LH or FSH in adults and adolescents?

Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
November 2, 2018 8:59 am

I like the clay pot hypothesis. Dropping a hot stone from the fireplace would allow the pot contents to be heated. Whatever minerals were in the clay or in the hot rock would dissolve in the Neanderthals’ soup.

John Tillman
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 2:30 pm

White lead has been used as a pigment in historical times, so might also have been utilized by prehistoric peoples.

IMO though, the lead discovered in Neanderthal children is more likely from ingesting lead-contaminated water or food than from handling or decorating with lead-containing compounds, salts or minerals.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 2:35 pm

The basic lead carbonate: 2PbCO3·Pb(OH)2, a complex salt occurring naturally as a mineral.

White lead was common in paint until banned. In the 19th century, it was the only white pigment for artists painting on easels. Queen Elizabeth I spread it on her face daily.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 3:42 pm

To cover what? Smallpox scars?

Reply to  bonbon
November 2, 2018 4:46 pm

Not for Neanderthals….smallpox wasn’t “invented ” yet

But for the Elizabethans, often yes

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
November 2, 2018 8:24 pm

Perhaps to appear virginal. Or just a late 16th century fashion statement. I don’t know.

But Elizabethan hookers also applied a lot of make up.

Reply to  bonbon
November 4, 2018 2:06 pm

Or even worse Syphilis (Henry VIII). Seems Europe traded Smallpox for that.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  John Tillman
November 2, 2018 1:18 am

Those of us of a certain age, know that our cots & prams were covered in lead-based paints, & as far as I know, I’m not gaga from chewing on those infant items!

Sceptic Lank
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 7:07 pm

As a geologist recently working in Morocco I was concerned to find a black lead sulphide (galena) on sale in some local markets. The Mineral is crushed into a black powder and used as mascara for face make-up. Usually stibnite, an antimony sulphide similar in appearance to galena and less poisonous, is used as a black powder for cosmetics by locals but clearly this lead substitute could be passed unnoticed to the unsuspecting purchaser.
I wonder if Neanderthals used crushed galena for ‘make-up’.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 9:07 pm

Early lead mines would have most likely been in the oxidized part of the orebody, and the most prevalent mineral would have been cerussite, which is lead carbonate. This can be easily ingested, not only orally, but from behind the fingernails etc. So dust from the mines could have been a source of the poisoning. Galena, the lead sulphide is comparatively innocuous.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 9:18 pm

If they were foraging in an area with lead-laced soil, the food stuffs they collected would be leaded. It makes complete sense and not so unexpected. They had no idea which areas of soil were safe and which were heavy metal-laced. [I do not say contaminated as that suggests that it was done by someone. This is a natural distribution of a heavy metal.]

Eustace Cranch
November 1, 2018 10:20 am

I’ve often wondered- what motivated prehistoric peoples to live in cold northern latitudes? Why didn’t they stay to the south? Was there some advantage I’m not seeing?

Ben Turpin
Reply to  David Middleton
November 1, 2018 7:54 pm

The last stand of Neadertypes was Gibraltar?

John Tillman
Reply to  Ben Turpin
November 1, 2018 8:05 pm

So it appears. Or thereabouts.

Tom Halla
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 8:14 pm

The problem is that the sites are rare and patchy, so Neanderthals may have survived longer in areas where conditions were poor for leaving fossils, or in areas no one has found yet.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 8:18 pm

Iberian environments are pretty goof for fossil preservation. To the extent that there are or were woodlands, they tended to be dry.

We’re heavily reliant on caves.

Assuming sampling was fairly constant, it’s safe to say that few Neanderthals could have survived far into the Last Glacial Maximum, which drove them into the Iberian refugium, finally invaded by Moderns during the LGM.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 2, 2018 9:01 am

I’d say they may still be with us, Tom.

Reply to  Ben Turpin
November 2, 2018 12:16 am

No last stand…..for anybody of Eurasian or North African origin [as I am ] they are still with us. We are them.
They our among our great great great…………and a few more….grandfathers.

And it was grandfathers by X as no trace of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA has been found in modern humans. So sapiens girls found neanderthal chaps rather attractive and/or for a variety of possible reasons female children of a sapiens father and neanderthal mother didn’t survive.

Reply to  GregK
November 2, 2018 2:04 am

I am unconvinced by the interbreeding claims because the samples of Neanderthal DNA are so sparse and so poor. Contamination of the samples is at least as likely. The chances that a few random encounters have survived to be widespread in our DNA are so small as to be discounted. But widespread interbreeding also seems unlikely.

I am also unclear how Neanderthal DNA is identified in our DNA – why is it not simply mutations in those who left Afr in CA, or perhaps from interbreeding with relic populations of earlier exoduses?

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
November 1, 2018 10:39 am

Maybe lions, hyenas, crocks, elephants, snakes, and mosquitoes 🙂

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  u.k.(us)
November 1, 2018 11:17 am

In exchange for wolves and bears. Hmm…

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
November 1, 2018 11:31 am

I seen that reply coming 🙂
They domesticated the wolves.

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
November 2, 2018 1:22 pm

Did they find animals in the same zone with the same dental signature?

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
November 1, 2018 11:32 am

They were able to take advantage of an ecosystem that other humanoids could not take advantage of. In that regard, they were like any other animal population. Until recently, humans behaved exactly as Malthus predicted. With the advent of technology, the rules seem to have changed. In particular, we no longer breed like rabbits when the climate is good and starve to near extinction when the climate changes. We seem to have learned lessons from the plagues. link

Anyway, I would far prefer to live in a colder climate, rather than a warmer one. It must be my Neanderthal genes.

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
November 1, 2018 12:34 pm

My guess its that they didn’t have boats to cross the Mediterranean, and they couldn’t swim across.
The ones who were on the other side fared better.

John Tillman
Reply to  Rocketscientist
November 1, 2018 1:34 pm

Based upon Mousterian cultural artifacts found there, Neanderthals evidently made it to Crete, which was still an island even at the lowest sea level of the LGM. Maybe, even with lower sea level, Gibraltar was a strait too far for their nautical abilities.

John Tillman
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
November 1, 2018 12:58 pm

Neanderthals did naturally have to migrate south when ice sheets advanced, but then they ran into other Neanderthals already there, who were only too happy to eat the immigrants, especially their fat-rich big brains.

The last Neanderthal survivors appear to have lived on the Iberian Peninsula, to include Gibraltar, before succumbing to the frigid climate of the Last Glacial Maximum and the onslaught of ever more numerous and technologically and culturally advanced anatomically modern humans.

Tom Halla
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 1:03 pm

Considering the history of the Americas and Australia, it could have been the Neanderthals lacked resistance to diseases the newcomers were more resistant to, not any great technological or physical advantage.

John Tillman
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 1:10 pm

Possible, but that works both ways. Neanderthals had immunity to diseases which the newcomers lacked. The Neanderthal immunological system was generally superior to ours, so in that regard we’ve benefited from inbreeding with them. But we also inherited some negative traits which still haven’t been evolved away via natural selection.

The history of contacts among modern humans shows that the most likely outcome is for the more numerous or advanced group to kill the males of the invaded group and enslave the women and children. The moderns entering Neanderthal territory might also have been just as cannibalistic as were the indigenous population.

Tom Halla
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 1:24 pm

Not quite. Trying to invade a place against a disease disadvantage did not work historically, notably with Europeans in Africa. They have had a presence in Africa as long as in the Americas, but only South Africa had a significant European settlement before modern medicine.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 1:45 pm


The tropics have always had more pathogens than cold regions, both because of climate and the fact that humans originated in tropical Africa.

The pattern of expansion of moderns out of Africa is instructive. We first spread eastward across the Eurasian tropics and subtropics, thence to Australia.

In the Levant, Neanderthals and Moderns alternated from at least 90 Ka, depending upon the climate. Starting around 55 Ka, we finally displaced Neanderthals in SW Asia, from the Levant at least to the Zagros Mountains, before entering Europe. Aurignacian artifacts have been found in Iran.

During an interstadial around 45 Ka, these Near Eastern Moderns invaded Europe. Given sporadic contact over tens of thousands of years, IMO it was pretty clearly climate and superior abilities which drove Neanderthals out of SW Asia and later Europe, where the process took about 20,000 years. Don’t know when Neanderthals became extinct in Central Asia.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 6:06 pm

Evidence that modern humans ate Neanderthals:

Reply to  John Tillman
November 2, 2018 8:53 am

Neanderthal immune system superior…. very speculative….how could you possibly know that without double blind tests on a population sample, which we don’t have. Maybe our extensive Neanderthal DNA data, which we also don’t have..

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
November 2, 2018 6:43 pm


Because among the Neanderthal genes which have survived, ie been selected for, are those involved in their immune systems:

Only an estimated 20% of distinctive Neanderthal traits have survived. Most of those which have done so are because they confer a selective advantage. There are however others which on balance appear negative.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 2, 2018 3:26 am

The most common Neanderthal genes in the modern human (homo sapiens) genome relate to disease resistance and immunity from some types of bacteria.

Note that the entire Neanderthal genome has now been sequenced several times. So it can be determined where moderns have picked up useful DNA from interbreeding with Neanderthals. It can also be determined to some extent where Neanderthal DNA is not so helpful.

Most people of European and Asian descent have from 1 to 3% Neanderthal DNA. Zero to little in modern Africans.

Adam Gallon
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 1:32 pm

Remember that we have Neanderthal & Denisovan genes in us.

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
November 1, 2018 4:30 pm

Look at Gangadhar Tilak’s The Arctic Home in the Vedas. There is the first use or archaeoastronomy. Then try .
When the ice age ended , the arctic plain flooded, people moved south giving the Indo-European group – south over central Asia and the Atlantic. The languages to this day are very close.

Or look at the 25,000bp detachable spears from north Okhotsk . At full charge no animal had a chance against spears with modular replaceable heads from a quiver. Easy meat.

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
November 1, 2018 4:39 pm

The Indo-European languages appear to have originated between the Black and Caspian Seas, north of the Caucasus Mountains.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 5:03 pm

Have a look at Tilak’s writings. Hard to get hold of. He traces the Hindu festival astronomy to the far north. I know Oxford has a fit. The archaeoastronomy pervades all the ancient epics.

Jimmy Haigh
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
November 1, 2018 8:52 pm

Because they knew Trump would be elected…

Jimmy Haigh
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
November 1, 2018 8:53 pm

Sorry that ended up in the wrong place. You’ll work out – you are all smart guys.

Bryan A
November 1, 2018 10:25 am

An interesting study
I would be curious how they determined that a child that lived 250,000 years ago was 701 days old instead of 801 or 601.
Also, they lived up to 400,000 years ago which means they not only lived through the Harsh glacial periods but also the much warmer inter-glacial periods.
comment image
This image from wiki of the last 4 cycles indicates that 400,000 years ago the earth was dropping into the glacial period. There were 3 subsequent inter-glacial periods (warmer than today) and 3 glacial periods prior to the demise of Neanderthal. Seems like perhaps they were far more robust than current pundits believe we are today. (end of the world)

Reply to  David Middleton
November 1, 2018 10:41 am

David Middleton

Neanderthals are no longer with us, so it’s our fault………Again.

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  HotScot
November 1, 2018 10:59 am

“Neanderthals are no longer with us, so it’s our fault………Again.” Not strictly true, as Neanderthal (and Denisovan) genes are often found admixed with homo sapiens sapiens genes. Randy bunch, the latter.

Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
November 1, 2018 11:49 am

For example, Lizzie Warren?

Mumbles McGurick
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
November 1, 2018 12:55 pm

Senator Warren is only 1/1024th Neanderthal.

John Tillman
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
November 1, 2018 1:02 pm

Neanderthals are extinct, despite populations outside Africa bearing one to four percent Neanderthal genes. I for instance have the brow ridges to back up my DNA.

But all living people taken together carry only a fraction of the distinctive sequences of the Neanderthal genome, so the subspecies is well and truly extinct.

Reply to  HotScot
November 1, 2018 11:08 am

Don’t forget, most none Africans(and some Africans) have Neanderthal or other archaic human DNA.

They didn’t go extinct, they just lost out to a bunch of sex maniacs???

mark from the midwest
Reply to  HotScot
November 1, 2018 11:08 am

What about those guys in the insurance ads?

Reply to  mark from the midwest
November 1, 2018 11:53 am

“I’ll have the panko-crusted chicken with the mango chutney.”
“And I really don’t have much of an appetite, thanks.”

From ‘umble beginnings …

John Tillman
Reply to  Bryan A
November 1, 2018 2:43 pm

Besides baby tooth eruption rates, there are techniques such as this:

Human Age Estimation from Tooth Cementum and Dentin

Hocus Locus
Reply to  John Tillman
November 2, 2018 12:20 am

Aren’t we ‘due’ for another baby tooth eruption? Usually follows the tail end of a Breastmilkankovitch cycle and triggers erosion of orogenous zones.

November 1, 2018 10:34 am

This provides an interesting counterpoint to the “think of your grandchildren!” shaming that alarmists throw at skeptics and just plain folks who don’t kowtow to doom and gloom claims.

I’d counter with “think of our great-ancestor children who lived miserable lives in the cold with lack of food, housing, and lead-poisoning”. Let’s make it warmer and the air cleaner today!

Tom in Florida
November 1, 2018 10:54 am

Your Fig 1 clearly shows the effects of large scale bombing/artillery during mechanized warfare.

On the outer Barcoo
November 1, 2018 11:03 am

I recall a reference to a tribe in the Papua New Guinea highlands that has very high blood lead levels … way above what the medical profession deems as safe.

November 1, 2018 11:15 am

“Traditionally, people thought lead exposure occurred in populations only after industrialization”

Did they forget about Roman times, where lead was used for water pipes? (the Latin word for lead, plumbum, is the root for plumbing-related words in English, BTW).

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Jax
November 1, 2018 11:20 am

My best buddy’s first wife got stolen by a plum bum. 😎🧖‍♀️

Reply to  Jax
November 1, 2018 12:00 pm

There is a paper published at regarding pre-industrial environmental lead concentrations due to the smelting of gold ores during the Roman civilization of 300 BS to about 150 AD .. much higher environmental lead concentrations from sediments dated to that era in Europe than today, most likely transported via air emissions.

It’s likely that metal smelting going back to the earlierst Bronze age also resulted in certain areas of concentrated heavy metals contamination, which also likely was transported via air.

The reality was that “industry” began long before the “industrial era”. As soon as humans learned to smelt metals and make metal products, they were practicing industry. And polluted their environment, though on a much smaller scale than in the last 300 years.

November 1, 2018 11:41 am

Over at our friends, I was challenged by an anti-Tr__per to predict the House races aggregate outcome. My response: “The House, like future climate, is impossible to predict. That would be a multivariate nonlinear ensemble prediction with too many variables and unknown forcings.”

November 1, 2018 11:46 am

That last painting “The Skeletons Of Shanidar Cave” depicts the lifestyle the zero-tolerance anti-fossil-fuel lunatics declare mandatory “to save the children”.

Bryan A
Reply to  brians356
November 1, 2018 12:14 pm

To save our children from a lifetime of
overcoming obstacles
surviving adversity
adaptation to changing environments
we must save them from living a life period

Pop Piasa
November 1, 2018 11:49 am

I wonder if neanderthal boys had yet discovered flatulating into a fire and its pyrotechnic displays? That would constitute the earliest anthropological employment of methane as fuel.

(I agree with David, in this midterm, a vote for a Dem is a vote for carbon taxation PDQ.) ❎🐘✔

November 1, 2018 11:51 am

Looked carefully at the Featured Image, but no sign of Raquel Welch. Sigh….

Reply to  DiogenesNJ
November 1, 2018 12:05 pm

She was in 1,000,000 years BC. These Neanderthal kids came 752,000 years later.

Reply to  DiogenesNJ
November 1, 2018 12:08 pm

Sorry. 747,782 years ago. Gotta be precise, even if not accurate.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  DiogenesNJ
November 1, 2018 12:28 pm

The one bending over is actually Bo Derek. 🤩

Reply to  David Middleton
November 2, 2018 6:59 am

She looks a bit advanced for 1,000,000 BC…..

November 1, 2018 12:26 pm

An interesting look into our future without reliable energy.

Go Home
November 1, 2018 12:37 pm

Most likely they were using lead fillings at the time for cavities.

So this really sounded more like a phenomenon associated with where these particular kids grew up, close to areas where lead was abundant near the surface and contaminating their drinking supply. Not a problem that was prolific within the neanderthal population world wide. This problem would have been an issue for any ‘humans’ that lived near these high lead areas and not just a neanderthal thing. Was this near Flint?

I thought it took decades for lead to be a serious problem to those exposed during their life times?

Reply to  Go Home
November 1, 2018 12:55 pm

If they were living in a cave where drips from the ceiling collected in puddles on the floor, then sure, the kids drank from the puddles.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Go Home
November 1, 2018 1:00 pm

Ii don’t think lead naturally exists in an elemental form. Copper and gold and tin and meteoric iron, but not silver or lead. So using lead for fillings before anyone was smelting metals seems implausible.

Go Home
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 1:12 pm

I was just kidding about the fillings.

Sceptic Lank
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 1, 2018 8:59 pm

Of course silver occurs in metallic form… silver jewellery, cutlery, candle holders, cups, trophies….. native silver is mined from many silver ore deposits.

John Tillman
November 1, 2018 12:55 pm

Chalcolithic Ötzi the Iceman had arsenic in his hair from copper smelting.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 4:47 pm

Beethoven and likely Goya died from deliberate lead poisoning. Both went deaf and Goya died. Beethoven knew he was being poisoned. Mozart as also poisoned, likely with arsenic. Napoleon likely was exposed to arsenic paint in prison.
Looks like the Venetian poisoning tradition dates to neanderthal times.

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
November 1, 2018 4:51 pm

The Alpine Iceman’s demise wasn’t helped by the arrowhead-inflicted lesion to an artery near his left shoulder.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 5:12 pm

Partly healed, not the cause of death. The entire murder “scenario” is based on damage by ice long after death. And the woven cloth, very fine, is for some reason not reported. Various traveling displays falsify the find. His fire wallet, with 6 stages, mass produced, makes our campers look dumb.
For the climate specialists, what was the ice situation then?

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
November 1, 2018 5:20 pm

No woven fabric was found with Oetzi.

He bled to death from the wound. No healing was found around it, but a large haematoma, a collection of blood due to internal bleeding, could also be seen in the surrounding tissue, Th Iceman apparently broke off the shaft by rolling on his back, then probably died shortly after the lesion was inflicted.

Reply to  bonbon
November 2, 2018 5:08 pm

If you want an example of climate change you have it with Otzi.

Pollen suggests Otzi died in late spring or early summer in what was presumably a mostly snow and ice free mountain pass. He was found lying on the ground, not within ice.
Immediately after his death he was covered by snow .
Otherwise his body would have been dismembered by scavengers.

So what was an ice free mountain pass was covered by snow immediately after Otzi’s death and remained ice and snow covered for 5000 years.

Now that is climate change

Reply to  bonbon
November 4, 2018 2:07 pm

He was later trampled with ice.

Joel O'Bryan
November 1, 2018 12:55 pm

Neanderthals live.

23andMe DNA testing tells me I have 302 genetic variant loci associated with Neanderthal DNA.
In their words:
“You have more Neanderthal variants than 87% of 23andMe customers.
However, your Neanderthal ancestry accounts for less than 4% of your overall DNA.”

Maybe that is what makes me resistant to the Climate Change kool-aid the Left peddles?

John Tillman
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 1, 2018 1:05 pm

Why not? Your ancestry does confer some immunological advantage, which is why those genes have survived.

You’re at the high end of modern Neanderthal ancestry, But too little of the H. sapiens neanderthalensis genome now exists in living populations for the subspecies to be considered still extant.

Pamele Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 1, 2018 1:44 pm

I am in about the same percentage of Neanderthal according to 23andMe. I like to think that they are still around in some small part in me and others of European ancestry. My husband is also high in Neanderthal and we are both pretty robust and healthy.

John Tillman
Reply to  Pamele Matlack-Klein
November 1, 2018 1:50 pm

Not just Europeans. Asians and Amerindians also carry a comparable amount of Neanderthal ancestry. Denisovan descent is however more common among Asians and Australians.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 1, 2018 1:46 pm

I don’t know where you’re from, but the Neanderthal were definitely victims. You should run for public office.

Jean Y. G.
November 1, 2018 1:15 pm

Found the 1961 reference to lead mines.
Just describes mining concessions in the area between 1837 and 1940
Lead was in the form of galenite, exploited to extract silver
As guessed this paper is not link to archaeology.
The stratum the mines belongs to is dated mid-Jurassic (Bathonian and Bajocian stages – 166.1 / 173.3 MY – locally 40 to 170 meter deep)

Reply to  Jean Y. G.
November 2, 2018 9:24 am

Well done!

November 1, 2018 1:21 pm

Minor problem with “pencil lead” … that’s Carbon (C) in the form of graphite, not lead (Pb) The leads” used are usually pigment powders with graphite (black) the most common and a clay binder.
Neanders would have used carbon in the form of charcoal for their art work and and personal decoration. No harm done there.
Lead-based pigments could easily have been used, but most unlikely to be in pencils. The main vector for “lead poisoning” is hand to mouth. Handling a lead-based material (such as a pigment) then eating food without cleaning the hands is the main pathway of ingesting lead, even today.

Reply to  sophocles
November 2, 2018 12:30 am

I noticed that!

Peta of Newark
November 1, 2018 1:31 pm

Lets have a measure of just *not* ‘Never So Good’ things are:
From The Smithsonian where that ever so twee picture came from, as they talk about ‘advanced social structure’:

This cut would have been deep enough to collapse his lung, so Shanidar 3 is the oldest known individual who could have been murdered

Do we see the projection there in the word “murder”?
The guy didn’t suffer a hunting accident, or fall out of a tree gathering honey or, poor sap, was injured in a roof collapse in the lead mine.
The super intelligentsia of today believe he was murdered.
Do Trash TV, Hollywood or Computer Games have anything to say here………
Nah. Thought not

Weren’t the mums good, nursing their babes for 30 months? How many modern mums don’t go past that many weeks before foisting fake milk and hence Kwashkior upon their babes.
Have you got a sibling that’s 3 years or less younger than you? Have you got Kwashkior. Chances are yes.
But how would you know when so many others have it also?
Look for signs of low intelligence, addictive behaviour, easily induced boredom and pot bellies.

So we look after our babes so well?
See here:
Maybe a little *too* well methinks.

On the subject of feeling cold:
Here’s a link to a music podcast, The guy is a semi-retired disc-jockey and avid music collector and here he is presenting some of his latest finds. A near neighbour of mine as it happens but I’ve never met him.

The first track is very nice but what you want is the little bit of chat he puts in between 03:45 and 04:45.
He mentions how he doesn’t feel cold when many others do. I have noticed the same within myself and I dare say, so has Mr Trump not least.
The 3 of us have one especial thing in common.
We Don’t Drink Alcohol.
It is something I’ve noticed in regular drinkers in the pubs I still visit, they *really do* feel the cold.

Even modest amounts of alcohol, taken regularly, trashes your body’s Thermo-regulatory system
Hence the classic picture of a St Bernard mountain rescue dog delivering a flask of brandy – the alcohol releases warmth from your central core and, seemingly. warms you up when you’re cold.
It really is the worst thing you can do to a cold person, let them have a drink or even worse, give them a drink

Nothing at all to do with ‘excess winter deaths’?
Did Nandertan Man, Woman and Babe go a bundle on the fermented barley?
Is that where he got ‘murdered’ – an injury sustained while maintaining a combine harvester?
Or fending off the Baby-Milk salesman – they can be persistent.
Was he involved in a drunken bar-room brawl?
sigh – right back to discussions of Climate Change Science

John Tillman
Reply to  Peta of Newark
November 1, 2018 2:00 pm

Shanidar 3’s puncture wound is consistent with stabbing by a sharp point, suggesting conflict with invading moderns.

In any case, he’s not the world’s oldest murder victim. Both modern and Neanderthal cannibalism is attested from 120 Ka. Of course, the corpses might have been scavenged rather than made, but Shanidar 1 appears to have survive a blow to the head arguably interpreted as by intentional use of a club or rock as a weapon.

The link above suggests that Neanderthals died out 40,000 years ago, but evidence from the Iberian Peninsula shows that they might have survived in the refugium until 28 Ka or even more recently.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 3:51 pm

There is a so-called neanderthal burial from 3000bc in Iberia.

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
November 1, 2018 4:08 pm

Just a chunky Modern.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 4:31 pm

Typical grave decoration.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 4:35 pm


There is no evidence of Neanderthal grave decoration.

The plants thought to have been buried with Shanidar 3 were brought there by rodents.

There is evidence of personal decoration with shells, bones and pigments, however, so it’s possible that ochre or charcoal might have been sprinkled on the dead.

The last known find with definitive Neanderthal traits dates from about 24,000 years ago, at Gibraltar.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 5:14 pm

Shanidar 3 is Iraq, I said Iberia.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 5:22 pm

I know you said Iberia. But the unsupported idea that Neanderthals practiced grave decoration came from Shanidar.

You said “typical grave decoration”. There is no known Neanderthal grave decoration, but the concept originated at Shanidar, which is why I cited it.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
November 1, 2018 2:23 pm

btw, are these people being paranoid – anti-vaxxers and all that..

Not least as aluminium is right up there with lead and mercury as a neuro toxin.

Cross my heart and hope to die but I had many of the symptoms they describe from The Last Flu Vaccination I ever got – it was like actually having flu itself.

6 years ago and never again. 1000iu Vitamin D daily Sept thro April and on cloudy days any other time of the year.
Works a treat.

And how they talk about lead is how warmists talk about Carbon when they mean Carbon Dioxide!!!!
Lead metal is not very dangerous at all.
Problems start when is becomes water-soluble or is ingested as its oxide. *Then* things get hairy.
But even then, it was used as make up for centuries.

Doncha love how lead gets us now?
From storing (strong) alcoholic drinks in glassware made from lead crystal.
Leave it a long time and the booze becomes totally irresistible – Lead Acetate being the strong sugar mimic/substitute that it is. haha

Is that right also, Sodium Acetate makes a very nice/tasty substitute for salt.
(Mix vinegar with baking powder?)
Bring on the Beef (buffalo) & Salt Diet, because after a while on the Low Carb High Fat routine (Keto Diet) you realise the only flavour enhancer that actually works is, Salt.
Just as well because all those herbs & spices are just irritants and poisons that plants create & use *exactly* to try and prevent themselves from being eaten.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
November 2, 2018 1:12 am

Peta: I guess there’s no rules without exeptions (regarding alcohol/cold tolerance)….:

Lewis p Buckingham
November 1, 2018 1:40 pm

The Neanderthals could have derived lead from the local food chain.
Another top predator has been found to bioaccumulate lead.

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Ambio. 2017 Dec;46(8):825-841. doi: 10.1007/s13280-017-0929-3. Epub 2017 Jun 15.
Concentrations of lead and other elements in the liver of the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), a European flagship species, wintering in Eastern Poland.

November 1, 2018 1:52 pm

Giza is a great astronomical clock of our planet whose dials are the 4 constellations and the hand of the clock is represented as a Sphinx’s gaze that turns around in every 26000 years. But how do we know when the cycle begins. The answer is the bump on the sphinx’s chest which is also known as the lion’s heart by Arabs. The lion’s heart is also the Arabic the name of the brightest star in Leo constellation, Regulus (image below).

Reply to  ren
November 1, 2018 4:01 pm

The Sphynx, a Lion looks east at constellation Leo rising ~10,000bp. Precession is easy.
Arabs shot the Ramses nose off before Napoleon arrived because of the devil.

Gunga Din
November 1, 2018 2:24 pm

More evidence for Climate Cids’ Case Promoters!

November 1, 2018 3:09 pm

If they only had a Neanderthal EPA to protect them from themselves

so…one like our own EPA?

November 1, 2018 3:56 pm

We are told “stone age to copper to bronze to iron” . Was there a lead age? What about fire and melting points?

November 1, 2018 4:00 pm

In an agriculturally poor environment, humans lack minerals in their diet. Low CO2 content help maintain low levels of edible plants. Humans turn to eating lichen and even soil to get the minerals they lack.

All grazing animals will, also, eat soil to get the minerals that they crave.

There is no shortage ways to increase lead intake.

November 1, 2018 5:35 pm

It is a bit disturbing to see here yet again the attempt to give a “scientific” basis to racism. I thought that stopped with Hitler? On second thoughts Huxleys eugenics and Keynes’ Eugenics society leadership might lead to doubts.
The so-called “Neanderthal” were human, inter bred with Sapiens, used fire, the same dwellings, artwork.
What’s going on here – are the Darwinian British monkeying with humans still? What an antediluvian, retro, doomed oligarchy they still are.
Darwin : On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

Favored races?

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
November 1, 2018 5:48 pm

He used “race” in the sense of variety, subspecies or species. The tile has nothing to do with human “races”. Darwin was a liberal, opposing slavery and considering, contrary to many anthropologists of his day, that all African groups were fully human.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 1, 2018 7:23 pm

He credited Malthus in that book for the process of the origin of species. Malthus who proposed mass murder to control population. Today’s climate alarmists are direct progeny of this monkey business.
Malthus was chief economist for the British East India Company , the largest monopoly the world had ever seen, no mere parson he, hired for just that “religious” cover for genocide.
Praising Bacon’s method from the very first pages for induction – how to stop people thinking, to be mere animals.
A true liberal as we know today.

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
November 1, 2018 7:32 pm

Darwin took from Malthus only the undeniable fact that, absent constraints, any population will increase geometrically.

There was no such thing as “chief economist” for the “Honourable East India Company”. Malthus did teach at the college the company set up to educate its future administrators.

You have been lied to by professional liars.

It appears to me that you have never actually read “On the Origin of Species”.

November 1, 2018 5:54 pm

Within the last year, i watched a TV documentary on Neanderthals.
A huge volcanic eruption some 39,000 years ago in Italy sent massive amounts of ash to the north east.
The distribution and depth was significant. A few years of sudden cold because of the dust veil and the ash accumulation reduced many life forms.
This afflicted the regions where Mr. N had been successful for over a 100,000 years.
Those in Spain survived that depopulation.

John Tillman
Reply to  Bob Hoye
November 1, 2018 6:05 pm

They also survived in France and elsewhere.

Geoff Sherrington
November 1, 2018 6:37 pm

Lead as a harm to people has a scientific history similar to the global warming scare and to the several other scares that fizzed.
Most juvenile lead poisoning has been from ingestion of large amounts, so-called pica for lead, such as from repeated chewing of wood putty painted with old lead based paints. These are rare events. In the present paper, one might imagine a rare location with sparkling lead minerals like Galena that caused curiousity and ingestion. The rarity of this type of scenario makes its mention in this paper no more than an oddity with no consequences.
People blogging on WUWT often express feelings of being received by IPCC slanted reporting. Have a deep dig into the literature on lead and its alleged toxicity at low levels and you will meet another minefield of conflicting science and poor quality deductions from the data. Just as many claim the war on CO2 is to influence energy production, so that war on lead was plausibly to influence petroleum use as in the lead in petrol event.
I have not kept fully up to date with the lead story after the narrative was captured by activists, but until then I saw no credible evidence for the claim that low levels of lead in the body caused IQ deficiency. I did see signs of control freaks in action. Geoff

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
November 4, 2018 4:05 am


Louis Hunt
November 1, 2018 7:02 pm

“…With such low atmospheric CO2 levels that C3 plants were literally starving. ”

Wait, Neanderthals were suffering from the effects of climate change at a time when CO2 levels were low? Why then are we being asked to reduce CO2 levels in today’s atmosphere? Why should we want to make our climate more like that of these Neanderthals when our current climate is quite pleasant in comparison?

Jimmy Haigh
November 1, 2018 8:55 pm

You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be lead.

Mark - Helsinki
November 2, 2018 1:35 am

They got all this from teeth?, well pardon my skepticism.

November 3, 2018 3:00 pm

Truly a fascinating and extremely well researched paper.

November 12, 2018 1:03 pm

Scientists have discovered 90,000-year-old remains of a prehistoric female whose mother was a Neanderthal and father belonged to another extinct group of human

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights