The new 3D imaging reveals that the child, who lived about 100,000 years ago, survived head trauma for several years, as a result suffered from permanent brain damage.

The researchers who have analyzed the 3D images stated that the child was unable to care for himself or herself because of the brain damage, so people had spent years looking after the little boy or girl. The research also said that people from the child's group left funerary objects in the youngster's burial pit.

Those signs of care for a disabled person suggest that the roots of human compassion go way back, said HŽl ne Coqueugniot, an anthropologist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) at the University of Bordeaux in France, and lead author of the study.

"It is some of the most ancient evidence of compassion and altruism," Coqueugniot said.

The child's skeleton was first revealed decades ago in a cave site known as Qafzeh in Galilee, Israel, which also contained 27 partial skeletons and bone fragments, as well as stone tools and hearths.

The child, whose gender couldn't be determined, was found with a visible fracture in the skull and a pair of deer antlers placed across the chest.

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