Why can't these people eat themselves?
Cannibalism Study: Humans Are Not Very Nutritious
So if humans weren't particularly high-quality prey, Cole asks, why should they be eaten? After all, they wouldn't be easy to hunt if they weren't sick or dying.
"You have to put a hunting party together and track them down, and even then they don't just stand around waiting for you to pierce them with a spear," explains Cole.
Instead, he argues, perhaps not all cases of cannibalism in ancient times were bellied up. It could also have fulfilled various social functions for early humans and their ancestors.
Archaeologists have found evidence of cannibalism in the human family tree that goes back as far as 80,000 years. Even if cuts and bite marks on bones cannot reveal any intentions, the ancient remains offer a few clues as to how widespread cannibalistic practices have been during human evolutionary history.
In Spain, for example, the remains of bison, sheep and deer were found mixed with the remains of at least eleven people, all of whom were children or adolescents and whose bones showed signs of cannibalism, at the Gran Dolina cave site. In addition to traces that show that the meat was gnawed off the bones, there are indications that the inhabitants of the Gran Dolina - ancient relatives of the man named Homo antecessor - ate the brains of their victims.
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