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Neanderthals Were Good Parents, Study Says

Caveman's home
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

What are the first few character traits that come to mind when we say "Neanderthal"? Just guessing here, but "good parenting" probably didn't make the list. But, according to a new study published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology, we could have it all wrong.

Apparently, Neanderthal parents were no strangers to taking care of their little ones. Contrary to popular belief that those parents were cold and not compassionate, research actually shows that they took extra care of their own.

Child graves were made more elaborate than for those of older people in their groups, for instance. Researchers also found evidence that parents would take care of sick or injured children for long periods of time.

But what's the reasoning behind the shift in theory? Because of the rugged Neanderthal lifestyle, scientists believe that instead of making them harsher, this way of life actually drew them closer and encouraged them to focus on close connections within their community.

The researchers said, "There is a critical distinction to be made between a harsh childhood and a childhood lived in a harsh environment."

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