Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Who Were the Cannibals?

More and more it has been suggested that we interacted little if at all with our close cousins the Neanderthals. Though there is still some controversy it mostly seems that we did not interbreed, finding each other too strange.

Some have wondered, more in literature than in science, if the appearance of our hairier relaatives made tehm the prototype for trolls and wild men-- "Grendel".

Now it seems we may have been their monster rather than they ours. A new study in the Journal of Anthropological sciences has found evidence of Neanderthal bones butchered like those of deer, and even Neanderthal teeth used as ornaments by our species.

"...Now the leader of the research team says he believes the flesh had been eaten by humans, while its teeth may have been used to make a necklace.

"Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la R├ęcherche Scientifique, said the jawbone had probably been cut into to remove flesh, including the tongue. Crucially, the butchery was similar to that used by humans to cut up deer carcass in the early Stone Age. "Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands and in some cases we ate them," Rozzi said."

Of course the conflict may have gone both ways-- Neanderthals were physically stronger than Cro- Magnons. But it doesn't look like we were friends, at least in Europe.

2 comments:

^^W^^ said...

Have you read Jared Diamond books?
Like Guns, Germs and Steel, or even better, The Third Chimpanzee?
Fascinating.. Some documentaries based on his books can be viewed online http://video.google.com/videosearch?source=ig&hl=fi&rlz=1G1GGLQ_FIFI282&q=jared+guns+germs&lr=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=zNcnSpn6HMiL_Qbtx6XJBQ&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&resnum=4&ct=title#

Anonymous said...

I have also read of evidence that Neanderthals ate each other from time to time, and no doubt had no qualms about roasting any of those dang encroaching Cro-Magnons! So turnabout's fair play! Could this be the ORIGINAL source of the common expression to "eat Cro?" :) One theory I find really intriguing, involving this hominid clash, is that the first dogs kept by Cro-Magnons may have helped them outcompete the Neanderthals(warning them of Neanderthal ambushes, helping them hunt Neanderthals down, etc.), in which case the use of dogs in warfare goes back to the very beginning of our relationships!....L.B.