Neanderthal skeleton: Shanidar 3

Dr. Cuozzo's response to an article that appeared on Fox News July 22, 2009

Dear Bill,

I am a fan of Fox News but, I was shocked to learn of the enormous publicity given to the Neandertal with the spear wound. Shanidar 3 was reported on by Erik Trinkaus on 1983 in his book "The Shanidar Neanderthals" and here's what he said about that rib wound in Shanidar 3.

I quote from page 206: " All twelve right ribs and at least eight of the left ribs (numbers 1-3, 6-9, and 11) are preserved with major portions of seven right ribs ( numbers 2,3,5-9) and four left ribs (numbers 3, 7-9) represented. One rib, 9 left, exhibits a partially healed wound."

Here is the Fox News Story: Stone Age Murder: Spear Wound Shows Human Killed Neanderthal "The victim: A 40- to 50-year-old male, now called Shanidar 3, with signs of arthritis and a sharp, deep slice in his left ninth rib.

"What we've got is a rib injury, with any number of scenarios that could explain it," said Study researcher Steven Churchill, an associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University...

Now my question is this: How can a partially healed rib wound be evidence for murder? Much less murder by Homo sapiens? If it had time to heal, the evidence suggests that there was considerable time between the injury and death.

Why in the world do they say now ( 26 years later) that a human killed S3? They say: "The evidence, A lethal wound on the remains of a Neanderthal skeleton." Why do they want to make a partially healed wound into a lethal wound from a human when they describe sharp metal points on Neanderthal spears later? "In fact, one recent study suggested such Neanderthal hunting tools, including spear tips, were pretty sophisticated."

I have done Neandertal research for over 30 years and have original x-rays of many Neandertals from the museums of origin. I have never seen evidence for murder on one of the skulls or other bones that I have studied. I don't see anywhere in your Fox News story Trinkaus' words, partially healed wound.


Jack Cuozzo DDS, MS Author "Buried Alive" 1998 New Leaf Press and Master Books Main page