Can we consider cannibalism is some kind of a practice by bloodthirsty psychopaths? Is it a Common motivations for eating human flesh because of periods of starvation? warfare? perhaps ritualistic behavior?
Claims arises that many of our ancestors were actually cannibals. But exactly why has remained a bit of a mystery. In a new paper, published in Scientific Reports, I have now started to answer the question.
Cannibalism took place across prehistoric western Europe. 960,000 years ago to the Bronze Age – shows that the practice of cannibalism must have been fairly common, given the number of hominin remains that show evidence of cut marks and human gnaw marks. “the broken long bones – indicating an effort to get to the marrow”.
Humans have engaged in cannibalism throughout history, says James Cole, an archaeologist at the University of Brighton in England, for ritual and medicinal purposes, and as the result of psychosis and warfare, among others, even before our ancestors evolved to be Homo sapiens, they were eating each other. Archaeologists have found evidence of cannibalism in the skeletons of early hominins found all over Europe.
Hominins are a group that includes modern humans, extinct human species (like the Neanderthals), and the immediate ancestors to humans. In studying hominin species that preceded Neanderthals and Homo erectus, archaeologists have found bones that had burn marks similar to those found on animal remains—marks scientists believed to have been made by cooking the animals (and humans) over a fire.
Considering all the reasons that humans ate each other, it seemed odd to Cole that the early hominins only had one motive. He wanted to see if it actually made sense for our ancestors to eat members of their own species based on nutritional value, compared to all the other animals they could have been eating. So, he took all the data he could find about the fat and protein content of various human organs, and calculated an approximate caloric value of a typical person.