Friday, April 3, 2009

Were Neanderthals Cannibals?

Were Neanderthals Cannibals? Archaeological evidence from Krapina, Croatia shows that Neanderthal fossils exhibited signs of cannibalism, including cut marks. Did Neanderthals eat each other? Exploited a new "food" source when times were harsh? Not so fast, said paleoanthropologist and archaeologist Jörg Orschiedt from the University of Hamburg in Germany. He said that cut marks in the Krapina sample were randomly distributed and were not necessarily in locations where defleshing generally occurs, which is where the muscles attach themselves to the bones. Orschiedt thinks that the cut marks come from researchers that were measuring these bones with sharp measuring tools.

Read the rest of the article from Scientific American.

2 comments:

PatrickB said...

Even if Neanderthals did sometimes engage in cannibalism, how would that differ from the behavior of modern humans?

Raymond Ho said...

There really isn't any difference between Neanderthals and humans when it comes to cannibalism. As far as I know, there really isn't any technique(s) culturally specific between these two species.

Studies of cannibalism and cannibalistic behaviors merely provide a window to the past so we know how Neanderthals live, in my opinion.