Early man could have gone into winter hibernation, say scientists

Early humans could have gone into hibernation to survive harsh winters, say scientists.

Just like some modern mammals like hedgehogs and bears it’s thought humans lowered their metabolic rate and slept for several months.

Scientists found from examining human bones more than 430,000 years old they had similar damage and lesions to those of hibernating animals.

Lead researchers on the study admit the theory sounds like “science fiction”.

However, they argue that other mammals still retain the in-built ability to hibernate.

Patrick Randolph-Quinney, a forensic anthropologist at Northumbria University, Newcastle, commented:

“It is a very interesting argument, and it will certainly stimulate debate.

“However, there are other explanations for the variations seen in the bones and these have to be addressed fully before we can come to any realistic conclusions.

“That has not been done yet, I believe.”


About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.

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