50,000-year-old fossilised feces have given evidence that the Neanderthals’ diets may have some presence in plants.As study at El Salt showed that all fecal samples found at an archaeological site in Alicante, Spain, which the Neanderthals occupied between 60,000 and 45,000 years ago, indicated that the Neanderthals ate animals.This was ascertained through the presence of the lipid coprostanol, which is created when the body metabolises cholesterol, a molecule found in animals. However, two of the samples also contained a chemical (5B-stigmastonal) that breaks down phytosterol, a molecule produced in plants. This provides convincing evidence that our predecesors’ cousins may have had an omnivorous diet, especially when considered with the other mounting evidence, including microfossils of plants (e.g. date palms and legumes) stuck in Neanderthal teeth.
However, at the same time, there are many in the scientific world who remain doubtful about the results. They point out that not only do we not know that this is, in fact, human waste, but we also do not know enough about the profile of the chemicals left, and how they degrade over time.