Re: Cannibalism

Gerold Firl (
15 Sep 1995 12:27:23 -0700

In article <43a171$> (Mike Holley) writes:
> Does any know of any theories or evidence suggesting that our
>early ancestors practiced cannibalism.

In _primitive mythology_, joseph campbell reports the conclusions of
the early excavations of h. erectus and early h. sapiens sites which
deduced cannibalistic practices from the way bones had been opened -
particularly skulls and long bones.

I vaguely recall reading speculation about some of the australopithecus
finds which seemed to show evidence of skulls which were opened to
extract the brains, and long bones broken for the marrow, but can't
provide you with a reference; campbell might be worth a look though.

I'm not sure how early you mean when you say "early ancestors".
Cannibalism has been widely documented throughout the world; only among
the aztecs does it appear to have had the potential of supplying a
significant source of protein, as opposed to largely ritual
significance, but this is fairly contemporary data. Three million years
ago the hominid line had both a vegetarian branch (the robust
australopithecines) and more hunting-oriented omnivores; the vegetarian
branch died out, but I expect that their nutritional value was
utilized. %^)

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf