Sure, in some of the colder regions of Europe plant food would have been very seasonally limited, so meat was almost certainly a large part of those locals’ diets. But in warmer, more resource-rich regions, their menu would have been more varied; they didn’t just gnaw on mammoth thighs. Neanderthals lived in all sorts of different ecosystems in Europe and the Levant during the more than 200,000 years that the species existed. There was no monolithic Neanderthal diet.
The Denisovans have long been one of the most elusive ancient human cousins, until now. In May 2019, scientists revealed the first fossil evidence of Denisovans outside of the Denisova Cave in Siberia. As the historical human family tree grows, what are we learning about why we’re the only ones left? In this episode, we pose this question to science journalist Carl Zimmer, a columnist for The New York Timesand the author of 13 books. Follow him on Twitter @carlzimmer.