Neanderthals were cannibals

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by paddoboy, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    The caves that prove Neanderthals were cannibals
    December 30, 2016

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    Reconstruction of Neanderthal man. Credit: public domain
    Deep in the caves of Goyet in Belgium researchers have found the grisly evidence that the Neanderthals did not just feast on horses or reindeer, but also on each other.

    Human bones from a newborn, a child and four adults or teenagers who lived around 40,000 years ago show clear signs of cutting and of fractures to extract the marrow within, they say.

    "It is irrefutable, cannibalism was practised here," says Belgian archaeologist Christian Casseyas as he looks inside a cave halfway up a valley in this site in the Ardennes forest.





    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-12-caves-neanderthals-cannibals.html#jCp
     
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Researchers discover the first evidence of Neanderthal cannibalism in northern Europe
    July 8, 2016

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    The highly fragmented Neanderthal collection of the third cave at Goyet represents at least five individuals. Dating indicates that the ones marked with an asterisk go back to between 40,500 and 45,500 years ago. Scale=3cm Credit: Asier Gómez-Olivencia et al.
    These remains display a large proportion of cut marks caused by stone tools when the meat was cut, and the bones display fractures as a result of having been broken to extract the marrow. Some bones were also used as tools for shaping stone tools. The Ikerbasque researcher Asier Gómez-Olivencia, who is currently working at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, has collaborated in this work published in the prestigious journal Scientific Reports.

    The Neanderthals displayed great variability in their behaviour, including in their relationship with the dead. There is evidence on different sites (e.g. Chapelle-aux-Saints in France, and Sima de las Palomas on the Iberian Peninsula) that the Neanderthals buried the dead. Other sites show that the Neanderthals ate the meat and broke the bones of their fellow Neanderthals for food. Evidence of this cannibal behaviour has been discovered at various sites in France (e.g., Moula-Guercy, Les Pradelles) and on the Iberian Peninsula (Zafarraya, El Sidrón).

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-evidence-neanderthal-cannibalism-northern-europe.html#jCp
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    http://www.nature.com/articles/srep29005

    Neandertal cannibalism and Neandertal bones used as tools in Northern Europe

    Abstract
    Almost 150 years after the first identification of Neandertal skeletal material, the cognitive and symbolic abilities of these populations remain a subject of intense debate. We present 99 new Neandertal remains from the Troisième caverne of Goyet (Belgium) dated to 40,500–45,500 calBP. The remains were identified through a multidisciplinary study that combines morphometrics, taphonomy, stable isotopes, radiocarbon dating and genetic analyses. The Goyet Neandertal bones show distinctive anthropogenic modifications, which provides clear evidence for butchery activities as well as four bones having been used for retouching stone tools. In addition to being the first site to have yielded multiple Neandertal bones used as retouchers, Goyet not only provides the first unambiguous evidence of Neandertal cannibalism in Northern Europe, but also highlights considerable diversity in mortuary behaviour among the region’s late Neandertal population in the period immediately preceding their disappearance.


     
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  7. timojin Valued Senior Member

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    For your information in the 1930 some cannibalism have been practicing in the Ukraine when Stalin imposed collective farms in the Ukraine.
     
  8. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Mere speculation but I bet our ancestors thought of Neanderthals as simply another food source.
    Alex
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    DNA analysis makes it clear that the first wave of Homo sapiens who found their way into Europe did not automatically regard the Homo neanderthalensis people who already lived there as enemies. There was rather a lot of cross-breeding. The average European whose ancestors arrived before the era of the Empires (starting with the Cro-Magnon) , when the first experiments with the technology of agriculture were being performed (domestication of animals for food and labor, and cultivation of plants for food and fiber), has something like 5% Neanderthal DNA.

    After all, the Neanderthals were stronger than the sapiens and would have been quite handy on a construction team, or simply to wrestle a large, tasty animal to the ground. Reconstructions of Neanderthals, based on the skulls and other bones we've recovered, make it clear that they would not have been regarded as especially ugly. If one sat down next to you on the subway, you'd find him a little smaller than most of the other people on the train, and his face would suggest that he's from some distant country whose people you haven't seen before. His arms are a bit different from ours so he would not be able to use a bow and arrow, but it might be ten years before something would happen to clue you into that difference. His body is denser than ours, so he would not be able to swim very well or very far, but again, you're never going to see him at the pool.

    As the Ice Age that covered Europe with snow and froze its rivers abated, the mammoths, cave bears and other large, slow-moving animals that the Neanderthals had learned to hunt began to die off, and smaller, lighter, faster-moving animals like deer, horses and various types of cattle came up from the southeast. At this point, it was the Neanderthals who needed the sapiens population to bring down the new species of game. Yet they would still have been useful to the sapiens whenever sheer strength was needed, and in the Stone Age there was always a need for sheer strength.

    But eventually, their usefulness began to disappear, and so did they. Not because anyone killed them off, but because nobody wanted half-Neanderthal children. Yet that 5% Neanderthal DNA still shows up in European people whose ancestry goes back before the Era of Empire.
     
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  10. River Ape Valued Senior Member

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    Remember we are talking about Belgian Neanderthals here.
    Nothing would surprise me about Belgians!

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  11. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Cannibalism is also common in many modern human societies, including Victorian England and communities in California today.
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    There hasn't been a Neanderthal population in Europe (i.e., a large group of Neanderthals who kept to themselves and maintained their traditional ways of living) for at least 10,000 years.

    As I noted in an earlier post, the Homo sapiens who began to take over the continent were not hostile to the shrinking Neanderthal population, and of course the Neanderthals felt the same way about these new people. Each group had abilities and techniques that came in handy, so in general, there was peace between the two tribes.

    Yes, there is no more Neanderthal community in Europe (or anywhere else, for that matter), but this is not the result of some kind of Neolithic pogrom. The Neanderthals simply became less and less well suited for the post-Ice Age climate. They couldn't swim in the teeming rivers, they couldn't hunt the much smaller and faster prey animals of the new era, and they couldn't even wield a bow and arrow.

    It would be interesting to look back into that era, to see how the two populations dealt with the climate change. Did the Homo sapiens stop cross-breeding with the Neanderthals because they had already learned that the cross-bred children of these matings had a lot of handicaps? Or did everyone continue to cross-breed (perhaps because they simply didn't know enough about biology to realize the problem), and then complain about the poor performance of the hybrid offspring?
     

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