In 1990, in Southeastern France, a cave was discovered and inside it, the remains of six people. More precisely, six Neanderthals: two adults, two adolescents, and two children. The archaeological analysis confirms that even across Europe are more than 200 sites with ancient remains of Neanderthals people, those found in this cave from France have a horrific story. According to the new study, Neanderthals became cannibals.
We are talking about 120,000 to 130,000 years ago when these people have lived in the last interglacial period. That means they have lived a period of transition from an ice age to a hotter climate. This transition had changed the plants, animals, the sea rose against the shorelines, and people had to adapt from extreme cold to unknown.
The problem is that we know little about how they transitioned this period, only what we could find from an archaeological result based on the human remains. But the bones found in the Baume Moula-Guercy from France, are different from other sites.
Neanderthals became cannibals, perhaps due to famine
Moreover, after archaeological sampling, the site features a level of bone and charcoal preservation. That gives archaeologists a way to reconstruct the natural environment and landscapes from the Eemian period experienced by the Neanderthals. Also, an interesting fact revealed was the evidence of cannibalism of the Neanderthals.
The bones from the cage were mixed with animal bones. Also, 50 percent of the human bones have cut marks over the entire skeleton, starting from the skull to the phalanges. Those marks are visible on all the skulls, long bones and other bones both on adults and children.
However, the evidence reveals potential signs of crushing and chewing. The condition of the bones suggests an episode of cannibalism. Also, the skeletal parts were intact previous to the human butchery, and none of them are in an anatomical relationship with each other.
Finally, the idea of cannibalism is hypothetical, even if the archaeological results about the Neanderthals suggest that they buried their deceased people. But if the scenario is right, maybe they were facing a period of famine, a changing world, and killed each other to survive. This possible scenario doesn’t make them some beasts, just people with no option to escape the radical environmental changes.
Stacy Richardson is a seasoned journalist with 15 years experience.. She has conducted numerous research studies on media effects including the effects of bullying on adolescents, and “sexy media” effects on sexual behavior. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Stacy covers stories affecting local politics and economy. Contact Stacy here.