When we think about cavemen, most of us probably imagine them as mammoth hunting, wild men.
While some neanderthals certainly hunted animals in order to feed themselves, it seems that this might not have been the case for all of our ancestors.
According to new findings by a team who published their finding in the journal, Nature, analysed plaque samples from four Neanderthals found at the cave sites of Spy in Belgium and El Sidron in Spain, the caveman way of life was a lot less about hunting animals and a lot more about kicking back, eating nuts and plants.
This information, found by the team on the remains of neanderthals a the cave sites, was discovered through looking at the type of food that neanderthal remains still had in their teeth!
Lead author of the report, Doctor Laura Weyrich said: ‘Dental plaque traps microorganisms that lived in the mouth and pathogens found in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, as well as bits of food stuck in the teeth – preserving the DNA for thousands of years."
"The caveman way of life was a lot less about hunting animals and a lot more about kicking back, eating nuts and plants."
Not only did they eat a plant based diet, the findings also show that they may have mastered plant based medicine, using different types of herb and plants to soothe pain relief.
‘One of the most surprising finds was in a Neanderthal from El Sidron, who suffered from a dental abscess visible on the jawbone" said another member of the team, Professor Alan Cooper.
‘He was eating poplar, which contains the pain killer salicylic acid – the active ingredient of aspirin, and we could also detect a natural antibiotic mould, Penicillium, not seen in the other specimens."
It's amazing that there is so much we still have to find about where we came from and our species' history!
Now we know that our ancestors lived off pine nuts, moss, mushrooms and tree bark, we really don't have any excuses to not make the effort to get our own five a day....