Cannibalism among Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and other hominins was likely suffused with cultural meaning.
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Carving up the human body to calculate the caloric value of each part, the study argues that prehistoric cannibalism – while less rare than widely assumed – was a dangerous undertaking offering relatively meager nutritional rewards.The findings help flesh out the idea that cannibalism among Homo sapiens – as well as Neanderthals, Homo erectus and other hominins – was suffused with cultural meaning.A review of the fossil record, along with recent genetic research, shows that cannibalism among hominin species, or early man, was fairly common.Bones with cut marks at the tendon joints to remove filets of muscle; long arm and leg bones that have been cracked to access the marrow; human teeth marks – all are telltale signs of humans feasting on humans.The earliest confirmed case of human cannibalism – found in a cave in Spain – features the species Homo antecessor and dates back nearly 1 million years.
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