Skip to comments.Early Cannibalism Tied to Territorial Defense?
Posted on 09/10/2012 6:08:37 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
The earliest known instance of cannibalism among hominids occurred roughly 800,000 years ago. The victims, mainly children, may have been eaten as part of a strategy to defend territories against neighbors, researchers report online in the Journal of Human Evolution. The new study shows how anthropologists use the behavior of modern humans and primates to make inferences about what hominids did in the past -- and demonstrates the limitations of such comparisons.
The cannibalism in question was discovered in the Gran Dolina cave site of Spain's Atapuerca Mountains. Eudald Carbonell of the University of Rovira and Virgili in Spain and colleagues found evidence of butchering on bones belonging to Homo antecessor, a controversial species that lived in Europe as early as 1.2 million years ago. Because no other hominid species has been found in the region at the same time as the butchered bones, the victims must have been eaten by their own kind, the team concluded in 2010 in the journal Current Anthropology (PDF).
Today, human cannibalism occurs in a variety of contexts: for nutritional value (often in times of starvation), as part of funerary rituals or during warfare. The different purposes of cannibalism can leave different patterns in the archaeological record. When humans consume other humans for purely dietary reasons, the victims are often treated just like any other prey. This is what the researchers found at Gran Dolina. Eleven individuals were butchered in a manner similar to that of deer and other mammals: Bones had cut marks in areas of muscle attachments and the skulls had signs of defleshing.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.smithsonianmag.com ...
An artist's reconstruction of Homo antecessor, a hominid species that butchered and ate its own kind. A new study suggests the cannibalism was a form of territorial defense. Image: jlmaral/Flickr
(Before the invention of commas!)
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Antecessor was a Homo!
So you’re saying that Jeff Dahmer just didn’t like his neighbors.
"...you think you're going to have Jesuit today. That's fine by me. Nothing could be fairer than to treat your enemies this way. The laws of nature do indeed tell us to kill our neighbor, and this is the way people behave thoughout the world. If we ourselves do not exercise our right to eat our neighbor, that's because we've got better things to et. But you haven't the same resources as we have. Certainly it is better to eat one's enemies than to leave the fruits of one's victory for the rooks and the crows."
--Voltaire, Candide, ch. 16.
He liked them — served rare.
Now, jesuit a minute!
Strategy? "That'll teach the lil' bastids to stomp around in the garden!"
Somebody translate this into spanish and print up pamphlets to drop along the border.
Sure...it was territory...that’s it...NOT that they were hungry and the kids were easy prey...nah...THAT couldn’t be it.
Ug, hey little girl.
“Get off my lawn...uh...on SECOND thought...c’mere, kids...
Apparently Hansel and Gretel is a far older story than I realized.
Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked on the Texas coast in 1528 and spent several years among the Indians of that area. He tells of two tribes, Marianes and Yguaces, who killed all their girl babies and gave them to dogs to eat. Their reasoning was that it was bad to marry their own kin, and if they gave their daughters to other tribes they would bear children and cause their enemies to multiply (since all the other tribes were their enemies). They obtained wives by buying them from other tribes.
A modest proposal...
Indeed...the same thought occurred to me; the fear of our children being taken and eaten by strangers is probably as old as our species...and even—as illustrated here—older.
What he described was a a brutal insurance against inbreeding...almost all tribal societies merely have the young women leave the village. It has been theorized by evolutionary biologists that the reason teenage girls are so at odds with their mothers is a remnant of one way to ensure out-migration of the women. Another point is this: when a young adult lives at home, it's usually the son and not the daughter.
Or perhaps they were just hungry.
Famine and the accompanying cannibalism were not uncommon in pre-industrial Europe.