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Thread: New research suggest our human ancestors ate other humans.

  1. #1
    ^ lynx ^

    Post New research suggest our human ancestors ate other humans.

    September 06, 2010

    The Archaeological Site at Atapuerca in Spain, which has yielded evidence, our human ancestors regularly engaged in cannibalism.

    (INTERNATIONAL) -- A new study of fossil bones found at a famous archeological dig in Spain suggests that cannibalism was a normal part of daily life – and daily diet - around 800,000 years ago among Europe’s first humans.

    Bones from the cave Gran Dolina located at the archaeological site of Atapuerca in North Spain, show signs of cuts and other marks which were made by early stone tools.

    Among the bones of bison, deer, wild sheep and other animals, scientists have discovered the butchered remains of at least 11 human children and adolescents.

    The bones displayed signs of having been smashed to get the nutritious marrow inside and there was evidence that the victims’ brains may also have been eaten.

    Certain marks on the bones at the base of the skull also indicated the humans had been decapitated according to the study’s co-author José Maria Bermúdez de Castro.

    Bermudez de Castro, of the National Research Center on Human Evolution in Burgos, Spain, was quoted by National Geographic as saying “Probably they (early humans) cut the skull for extracting the brain. The brain is good for food.”

    Scientists believe that early humans ate fellow humans both to fulfill nutritional needs and to kill off neighboring enemy tribes.

    Bones of humans that had been eaten spanned a period of around hundred thousand years, indicating the practice was not just confined to times when food was scarce.

    Because human and animal remains were tossed away together, archeologists theorize that cannibalism had no special ritual role linked to religious beliefs.

    And the area surrounding the caves would have been a rich source of food so there would have been little need to turn to cannibalism as a last resort.

    Instead researchers think the practice was widely used as a way of dealing with competition from neighboring tribes.

    Children would have been targeted as they would have been less capable of defending themselves, the study suggests.

    The Archaeological Site at Atapuerca has long been yielding fossils and stone tools of the earliest known hominids in Europe, dating to between 780,000 and 1 million years ago.

    Several remains of the Homo heidelbergensis were found there, the predecessor to the Neanderthal.

    The site lies in the Sierra de Atapuerca, an ancient karstic region of Spain containing several caves. They were inhabited also during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Its people left paintings and engravings in the cave walls.

    The sites in this area were found during the construction of a railway. Scientific exploration started in 1964.
    Click here: Source

  2. #2
    ^ lynx ^

    A better article from National Geographic website (pic inside):

  3. #3
    Australian Member bud's Avatar
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    im sure the would have eaten anything they could have gotten their hands on in that stage of human history.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Aristander's Avatar
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    Several weeks ago I saw something similar to this but it was Homo antecessor mentioned rather than Homo Heidelbergensis.

  5. #5
    ^ lynx ^

    Bones of humans that had been eaten spanned a period of around hundred thousand years, indicating the practice was not just confined to times when food was scarce.
    This has happened also in more recent times... so it's not a surprise at all:

    Researchers Discover Signs of Cannibalism; Pre-Columbian Era 'Pit Houses' Found

    Article from: The Washington Post
    Author: Guy Gugliotta

    Archaeologists have found the most conclusive evidence yet that the Anasazi people of North America's pre-Columbian southwest practiced cannibalism.

    Three "pit houses" excavated in what is now southwest Colorado contained more than a thousand bones and bone fragments with marks showing that the bodies of at least four adults, two adolescents and a child had been dismembered and systematically butchered.

    Moreover, the archaeological team at the so-called Cowboy Wash site also recovered ancient human feces, known as coprolite, that contained human myoglobin, a protein found only in skeletal and heart muscles. "Consumption of human flesh did occur," the researchers concluded in …

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