The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News -

DE­SPITE their rep­u­ta­tion as brutish cave­men, Ne­an­derthals sur­vived for al­most 300,000 years be­cause they were com­pas­sion­ate.

A study of re­mains showed most had in­juries that needed mas­sage, fever man­age­ment and good hy­giene pro­vided out of gen­uine feel­ings for oth­ers rather than self-in­ter­est.

Dr Penny Spikins, of York Univer­sity, said: ‘‘Ne­an­derthals did not think in terms of whether oth­ers might re­pay their ef­forts. They re­sponded to see­ing their loved ones suf­fer­ing.’’ The study, pub­lished in the jour­nal World Ar­chae­ol­ogy, un­der­mines the tra­di­tional view of Ne­an­derthals, who oc­cu­pied Europe and Asia from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago, as thugs.

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