Researchers have looked at human cannibalism through the ages. Cannibalism is known to have existed a long time ago, and nowadays this topic is one which would be avoided due to the cruelty and insanity of the act. Nevertheless, anthropologists seem to find this topic irresistible. Every scientist wonders why people would do such a thing, searching for some reasons, asking about the culture and the legends.
Human cannibalism was revealed to have existed across ancient Europe
James Cole, a senior lecturer in archaeology at the University of Brighton, has developed a new study which was recently published in Nature magazine. Cole has calculated the calorie content of all edible parts of a human body. He considered organs and muscles, from loin to ribs and he excluded the nutrition from the list of possible explanations for human cannibalism.
Most such occurrences appeared during the Paleolithic period, starting from 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago. This period includes the appearance of Homo sapiens. For those who are not trained in this respect, they would not know what parts are edible or which are tastier. They would just say that human remains just remain. For archaeologists, when finding bare bones, it is impossible for them to determine whether the flesh was eaten by someone else or it decomposed.
Some of the key reasons may have been famine or ceremonial reasons
However, scientists know how to spot these differences, figuring out whether that person was once someone’s meal or died peacefully and decomposed. The signs which indicate cannibalism include the absence of the skull’s base to reveal the brain, parallel cut signs on bones and scraggy breakage of bones. Anthropological Forensics elements like these might help scientists determined more details about cannibalism.
Researchers managed to uncover several sites where they were certain that once acts of cannibalism happened there. Many of these places were located across ancient Europe. Some sites revealed five victims while others indicated even 30 victims. Cole examined the chemical composition of the human body to determine the reason behind these brutal acts.
He looked at a male body of about 50 kg. Approximately 30 kg would represent the muscle mass. The rest of about 20 kg would consist of body fat and organs. A male human body would have about 125,822 calories. After further research, Cole listed among the reasons for cannibalism might be related to famine, ceremonies or geopolitics.
Image source: wikipedia