Neanderthals also suffered from the so-called “swimmer’s ear” according to a new study published in PLOS ONE.
The researcher Erik Trinkaus of the University of Washington has discovered, with the help of his colleagues, some anomalous bone growths in the ear canal of some very well preserved ear canals found in the remains of various men of accidental Eurasian Neanderthal dating back to the middle Pleistocene late.
The researchers noted that the ear condition swimmer was exceptionally common in Neanderthals. This condition occurs when you expose yourself too often to cold water (or even cold air) even if you believe that a genetic predisposition may exist.
Of the 23 Neanderthal remains examined, about half had mild to severe forms of exostosis, at least twice the frequency observed in almost all the other populations analyzed.
The most obvious explanation is that evidently Neanderthals took longer to collect resources in aquatic environments. However, according to the researchers, there are also other factors that are probably involved in this higher frequency because there is no particular correlation with the proximity of these populations to ancient water sources or to colder climates.
It is believed that one of the causes can be represented by a genetic predisposition of this group.