El Sidron Mystery (02:16)
Cavers discovered Neanderthal bones in 1994 in Northern Spain. Cut marks suggest cannibalism; scientists look for hard evidence.
El Sidron Archaeological Site (01:44)
Each year, more relics are exhumed from the cave system's Ossuary Gallery. Spanish scientists and university students gather to dig every summer.
El Sidron Safety (01:25)
Rains can cause flooding in the cave system. A steel cage prevents fossil looting in the Ossuary Galley 75 feet below ground.
El Sidron Cave Function (02:12)
Human bone fragments and Neanderthal stone tools have been excavated. They date to around 49,000 years old, and appear to have been buried there.
Archaeological Deposit Timeline (01:25)
An expert discusses why a simultaneous combination of human bone and Neanderthal relics are rare.
Neanderthal Lifestyle (01:53)
El Sidron is an atypical Neanderthal occupation site. They ate a wide variety of meat and plants, but were genetically separate from humans.
Neanderthal Forensics (02:40)
Cut marks and cracked leg and jaw bones provide evidence of cannibalism at El Sidron.
Neanderthal Cannibalism (02:04)
There is no evidence of modern humans at El Sidron. Experts believe Neanderthals may have eaten their own species for hunger or ritualistic reasons.
Gorham's Cave (02:15)
Neanderthals were as diverse as humans. No cannibalism evidence has been found at a 28,000 year old Gibraltar site.
Neanderthal Diet (01:36)
While El Sidron relics represent a single event, Gorham's Cave was occupied for thousands of years. Residents ate fish and plants.
Gibraltar Neanderthal Living Conditions (02:19)
Gorham's Cave inhabitants experienced lower sea levels. Archaeologists explore an underwater site that may contain bones.
Neanderthal Tool Production (02:17)
Lithic flakes found at El Sidron show that stone tools were made nearby.
Interpreting Neanderthal Activity (03:27)
A debris flow cone shows that stone tools and bones dropped into the Ossuary Gallery at once. Cannibalized bodies were only exposed for a short time.
El Sidron Sinkhole (02:09)
Scientists believe a shelter was located above the Ossuary Gallery 49,000 years ago. The roof collapsed during a storm, burying Neanderthal remains.
Identifying Neanderthals (02:43)
Scientists use teeth to piece together remains from El Sidron, revealing six adults and six children.
Neanderthal Genetic Research (02:12)
A Spanish scientist describes searching El Sidron for DNA samples. Learn why they are contaminated with modern human DNA.
El Sidron Protocol (02:19)
Early excavators unwittingly contaminated Neanderthal DNA with theirs. Scientists have implemented a sterile procedure to isolate ancient genes.
Creating Neanderthal Models (01:57)
Geneticists isolate nuclear DNA in El Sidron bones to learn their traits. View a physical reproduction of a female.
Neanderthal Social Structure (01:51)
Scientists use mitochondrial DNA to determine family relationships among El Sidron individuals. Women moved between groups to maintain genetic diversity.
Losing Genetic Adaptability (01:26)
Neanderthal groups became smaller, could no longer exchange females, and inbred over time. Cannibalism occurred with hunger.
Neanderthal Extinction Theory (02:19)
Some scientists believe climate change isolated groups, caused genetic inbreeding, and led to food shortages.
Neanderthal Food Shortage (01:37)
Calcified dental plaque reveals that El Sidron residents ate bitter plants—suggesting they were reaching their resource limits.
Last Neanderthal (02:23)
Neanderthal sites across Europe show signs of stress. The Gibraltar site shows they went extinct during a drought.
Lessons from El Sidron (02:22)
The site has yielded more Neanderthal bones and stone relics than any other. Scientists will continue to make discoveries about our ancient relatives.
Credits: Caveman Cold Case (01:30)
Credits: Caveman Cold Case
For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or firstname.lastname@example.org.