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Human Dined on Young Neanderthal-Discovery

PostPosted: May 27th, 2009, 8:57 pm
by wolfhnd
Early Human Dined on Young Neanderthal

May 21, 2009 -- Sometime between 28,000 and 30,000 years ago, an anatomically modern human in what is now France may have eaten a Neanderthal child and made a necklace out of its teeth, according to a new study that suggests Europe's first humans had a violent relationship with their muscular, big-headed hominid ancestors.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/05/2 ... human.html

Re: Human Dined on Young Neanderthal-Discovery

PostPosted: May 27th, 2009, 10:18 pm
by khajiit
I wonder if they had a food shortage? Since they seemed to be foes,I doubt if it was some kind of ritual;if not that the other thing I can think of is a shortage of food. I mean if I was at war with someone,the last think I would be thinking of is eating another human,unless I was starving.

Re: Human Dined on Young Neanderthal-Discovery

PostPosted: May 27th, 2009, 10:39 pm
by wolfhnd
I wouldn't read too much into the cannibalism angle. The important thing is the proof of contact.

Re: Human Dined on Young Neanderthal-Discovery

PostPosted: May 27th, 2009, 10:52 pm
by Paralith
This conclusion was made based off of a single jawbone that had cut marks on it, and even for paleontology that is a pathetic sample size and no lasting conclusions should be made from it. Similar such bones have been found before, but amongst their respective owners (this was a neanderthal jaw found amongst human remains), and it has been hypothesized that ritual de-fleshing may have been part of burial.

Re: Human Dined on Young Neanderthal-Discovery

PostPosted: May 28th, 2009, 8:42 am
by CanadysPeak
I am in the middle of reading The First Human by Ann Gibbons, a very gossipy account of the last half century of paleontology in East Africa, and I am constantly struck by how much is (not can be) inferred from a single canine tooth. With scant evidence comes much speculation, I suppose.

I think the evidence of close contact is quite interesting. Cannibalism may be a bit of a reach and probably should not be unexpected if it did occur.

Re: Human Dined on Young Neanderthal-Discovery

PostPosted: May 28th, 2009, 10:02 am
by Forest_Dump
This is one of those cases where once you get past the headline, some of the details even in that story, give a bit of a different picture. So, what can we say based on the story?

They found some teeth and a jaw fragment with Neanderthal characteristics. Since human/Neanderthal hybrids have been documented for Europe (specifically Spain), it is equally possible that the youngster was a member of the same family group.

Do we know cannibalism was practiced? No. We have a few bones with cut marks. It is just as possible to suggest that "Mom" found her lost child late in the spring and kept some mementos from the body after cleaning it up. Use of bones like this is actually reasonably common.

If we did have evidence of cannibalism, does that mean hostilities between groups? No. Cannibalism strictly for food is actually very rare. Cannibalism among enemies is certainly much more common. However, so is cannibalism involving only relatives/kin. But, of course, there is no evidence of cannibalism here or, for that matter, violence of any kind.

Re: Human Dined on Young Neanderthal-Discovery

PostPosted: May 29th, 2009, 4:18 pm
by Paralith
Forest_Dump wrote:They found some teeth and a jaw fragment with Neanderthal characteristics. Since human/Neanderthal hybrids have been documented for Europe (specifically Spain), it is equally possible that the youngster was a member of the same family group.


Based on what I know it is not agreed upon that those individuals are actually hybrids. Some would like to say they are, others think there is no evidence for that conclusion.

Re: Human Dined on Young Neanderthal-Discovery

PostPosted: May 29th, 2009, 4:25 pm
by Forest_Dump
I certainly would not debate you on that. Many of these kinds of inferences are being made about the Mungo Lake material, Flores Island Hobbits, etc., and it is and probably always will be contentious. Given what they have in this case, including that it is a subadult, there is lots of room to speculate on whether this is even Neanderthal remains at all.