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Palaeontology

Evidence of Neanderthal cannibalism found

By T.K. Randall
July 9, 2016 · Comment icon 8 comments



Neanderthals may have actually feasted on one another. Image Credit: Randii Oliver
Neanderthal remains unearthed in Belgium's Goyet caves show indications of cannibalistic behavior.
The prehistoric bone fragments, which have been radiocarbon-dated to between 40,000 and 45,000 years ago, are part of the largest haul of Neanderthal remains ever found north of the Alps.

Among the bones, scientists have discovered cuts and notches suggesting that the bodies had been skinned and butchered - a strong indication of cannibalistic practices.
Other evidence of Neanderthal cannibalism had been previously unearthed at El Sidrón and Zafarraya in Spain as well as at Moula-Guercy and Les Pradelles in France.

In some cases Neanderthal remains were even found to have been turned in to bone tools.

"The big differences in the behavior of these people on the one hand, and the close genetic relationship between late European Neanderthals on the other, raise many questions about the social lives and exchange between various groups," said researcher Hervé Bocherens.

Source: CBS News | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Leonardo 6 years ago
Neanderthals were very similar to our own H. sapiens ancestors - and we know some of those sometimes engaged in cannibalistic practices, so why is it so "shocking" to learn some Neanderthals did also?
Comment icon #2 Posted by jarjarbinks 6 years ago
SO, they probably ate themselves, that's why they dont exist anymore. I wonder if the last one actually ate himself?
Comment icon #3 Posted by third_eye 6 years ago
Can't have ... we H.Sapiens ate 'em all ... that's why we here they gone ...
Comment icon #4 Posted by Clair 6 years ago
Yummy in my tummy... not. Wonder why they did it. Hunger? Or were there other reasons perhaps?
Comment icon #5 Posted by third_eye 6 years ago
Best guess today is the onset of some early form of 'spirituality' ... some genius thought 'I eat deer I fast as deer, I eat stag I strong as stag' to 'I eat him I powerful like him' ~
Comment icon #6 Posted by universal skeptic 6 years ago
Sometimes meat is just meat.
Comment icon #7 Posted by PersonFromPorlock 6 years ago
Eaten Neanderthals doesn't mean Neanderthals did the eating. A tribe of Cro-Magnons slaughters a tribe of Neanderthals and pigs out on the spot, for instance, leaving lots of bones.
Comment icon #8 Posted by CultOfOsiris 6 years ago
Nothing surprising here, there is a longer history of people participating in cannibalism, than there is a history of it being considered evil. Many in recorded history may treat it as a mortal sin, but there is quite a bit of time before recorded history, where this was not only seen as normal, but many times also as a sign of respect.


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