WERE NEANDERTHALS CANNIBALS?
Evidence from fossils found in various places all over the world shows that the
Neanderthal man (Homo nederthalensis) was a cannibal. This is usually countered by other people arguing that they were practicing what is known as burial or mortuary rites before burial and also argue that this could have been due to human interference or carnivore activity (1). But more recent research shows that the Neanderthal was practicing cannibalism. The Neanderthal man was an expert hunter and would deflesh their victims before later on breaking their bones and skulls to get the marrow and the brain. Fossils from a cave in Moula-Guercy, Ardèche, France dated to 100,000 years (Defleur et. al.) show evidence of bone modifications that indicate that the individuals were defleshed and disarticulated (Alban Defleur et. al.1999). Cuts on the lingual surface of juvenile mandibles indicate tongue removed. After flesh was removed from the bones the bones were then broken using stone hammers. Then the marrow was removed, same treatment being given to the head to remove the brain (Mendez).
Other fossils that were found on the same site indicate that this was not a burial site as other scientists argue but a trash heap after they had been eaten. Other fossils like those of a deer, pig horse hyena(Day, 1993) were found in the same place as that having the Neanderthal bone this shows they were thrown there after a meal.(1). Similar treatment to that of the H. neadethalensis was also given to the animals. This is accompanied by tools found on the site of the excavation showing those tools were used in the actually butchering process. In this on massive heap of fossils around 78 pieces of fossils were identified as belonging to human and 400 others identified as belonging to other mammals. This indicates a combination of both human and animals were eaten and their bones discarded together.
From the evidence carried it is a strong indication that there was cannibalism even one has to ask why it was there. It could have been caused by food shortage or a ritual?
Alban Defleur, 12* Tim White, 2 Patricia Valensi, 3 Ludovic Slimak, 4 Évelyne Crégut-Bonnoure Neanderthal Cannibalism at Moula-Guercy, Ardèche, France Volume 286, Number 5437 Issue of 1 Oct 1999, pp. 128 - 131
The American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Day M. H. Guide to fossils man 4th Edition. The University of Chicago press. Chicago IL p. 85-88, 1993
Mendez, A. C. The wickedness of the pre-flood world.
White, T. and Toth N. The question of cannibalism at Grotta Guattari. Current Anthropology, Vol. 32, No. 2 April 1991, p. 118-138. University of Chicago press. Chicago IL
VINCENT MUCHAI WAIRIMU
Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
University of Western Capetown
Private Bag X17 Bellville