Saturday, 26 January 2013

Why didn’t Neanderthals eat fish?

There are a million things science can tell us, and a million things it can’t.

There are at least two million things that people with letters after their names pretend science can tell us. But that’s a subject for a different post.

 When it comes to the history of Britain 40,000 years ago, science can tell us some extraordinary things. Science can tell us what the weather was like season by season (whereas I quite often have trouble remembering what the weather was like last week). There’s a branch of science which looks at pollen grains and can tell us exactly which plants were growing where, when.

 Even more extraordinarily, to me, scientists can analyse Neanderthal remains and tell us what they ate by looking at chemical traces in the bones.

 Like humans nowadays, Neanderthals had different diets depending upon where they lived. Those in Gibraltar enjoyed shell-fish, but those in Northern Europe don’t seem to have eaten fish at all.

 That’s amazing, you know. No fish.

Think about it. I'm sure that I’d have trouble hunting any sort of animal - even something fairly small like a reindeer - but I think I could probably manage to catch myself a fish.

 Why didn’t Neanderthals eat fish?

 Well, that’s one of the things science can’t tell us. So in SONG HUNTER I had to try to work it out.


  1. Yes, it does seem an obvious question, doesn't it? And raw fish is eaten all over the world....And like you, I have to write down what the weather is like if I'm thinking of setting a book at a certain time. Like this past snowy weekend..that's going to be the time frame for my next novel, I think....part of my next novel, anyway!

  2. Well, there you go: revealed exclusively on this blog, the setting for part of the new novel by Adele Geras.
    Can't wait!