Washington, Aug 7 (ANI): Remains of an apparent Neanderthal cave sleeping chamber have been unearthed, complete with a hearth and nearby grass beds that might have once been covered with animal fur.
Neanderthals inhabited the cozy Late Pleistocene room, located within Esquilleu Cave in Cantabria, Spain, anywhere between 53,000 to 39,000 years ago, according to a Journal of Archaeological Science paper concerning the discovery.
The Neanderthals lived the ultimate clean and literally green lifestyle, for they apparently constructed new beds out of grass every so often, using the old bedding material to help fuel the hearth.
"It is possible that the Neanderthals renewed the bedding each time they visited the cave," Discovery News quoted lead author Dan Cabanes as saying.
Cabanes added that these hearthside beds also likely served as sitting areas during waking hours for the Neanderthals.
"In some way, they were used to make the area near the hearths more comfortable," he said, mentioning that artifacts collected from various other Neanderthal sites suggest the inhabitants prepared stone tools, cooked, ate and snoozed near warming fires.
Evidence is building that Neanderthals in other locations constructed such functional living spaces within caves and rock shelters.
The big question, according to Cabanes, is how such a resourceful species went extinct.
"In my opinion, Neanderthal extinction may have been caused by several factors working at the same time. Environmental changes, a slightly different social organization, a different rate of reproduction, spread of diseases, direct competition for resources and many other factors may have played an important role in the fate of Neanderthals," he said.
He and other researchers have also not ruled out that Neanderthals were simply absorbed into the modern human population. (ANI)