Stone Age Peo­ple Were Can­ni­bals

10,000 years ago, a group of Span­ish Stone Age peo­ple were killed, cooked, and con­sumed by can­ni­bals, ac­cord­ing to an ar­chae­o­log­i­cal study of the vic­tims' bones.

Science Illustrated - - SCIENCE UPDATE -

Marks from stone tools and teeth on a num­ber of bone frag­ments from a Span­ish cave have pro­vided sci­en­tists with clues of Stone Age can­ni­bals. The bones, which are about 10,000 years old, be­longed to at least two adults and one child.

The adult bones show clear signs of rough treat­ment. They in­clude cut marks and blow marks, and they have been fried and bit­ten into. There is ev­ery in­di­ca­tion that can­ni­bals have been in­volved, but the un­der­ly­ing cause of the hor­ri­fy­ing ac­tions re­mains un­known. A pe­riod with scarcity of food could have made the pre­his­toric peo­ple so des­per­ate that they did not have any other choice but to con­sume their peers. Along with the hu­man bones, sci­en­tists have, how­ever, also dis­cov­ered lots of seashells and an­i­mal bones from deer, etc., in­di­cat­ing that food was in­deed not scarce at the time.

In­stead, sci­en­tists be­lieve that the vic­tims were from an en­emy tribe and that the can­ni­bal­ism was an el­e­ment of hu­mil­i­a­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the sci­en­tists, a third op­tion can­not be ruled out. What hap­pened might have been a burial rit­ual, by which the dead were hon­oured by con­sum­ing their mor­tal re­mains.

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