A group of six butchered corpses from 120,000 years ago in what is now the south of France (and cannibalized corpses from other areas) are said to “coincide with climate change.” But what’s the connection?
During the warmer period when the Neanderthals lived, the area was devoid of large mammals, instead inhabited by rodents and tortoises and snakes that migrated up from the Mediterranean. …
Open grasslands gave way to temperate forests and the Neanderthals, accustomed to hunting large prey such as bison and mammoth, apparently struggled with this rapid change. Analysis of tooth enamel from the Baume Moula-Guercy remains revealed stress lines typical of periods of stress, such as illness or malnutrition.Dyani Lewis, “Warm weather pushed Neanderthals into cannibalism” at Cosmos Magazine
The researchers see it as a desperate measure. They don’t (and, of course, shouldn’t) rule out ritual cannibalism, which could also be a response to stress (= if we eat this person, we will absorb his ability to spot big game). Slowly the picture comes in and we are still looking for that subhuman Darwin promised us.
See also: The Neanderthals are undergoing a renaissance Smarter every time we look at them!
Was Neanderthal man fully human? The role racism played in assessing the evidence
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An earlier story about Neanderthal cannibalism (a great view of the cave dwellings)