1.5 million years ago, human ancestors practiced cannibalism: scientists

Bylim Olena

1.5 million years ago, human ancestors practiced cannibalism: scientists

Paleontologists, conducting research to study the hunting of prehistoric predators on ancient human relatives, made a terrifying discovery. They discovered nine cuts on a 1.45 million-year-old tibia that belonged to an ancient relative of Homo Sapiens and was found in northern Kenya in 1970.

Briana Pobiner of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and her team came across evidence of "massacre" and cannibalism. As New Atlas writes, paleoanthropologists made this discovery while searching for information on how prehistoric predators hunted ancient human relatives.

The researchers used 3D models based on fossils and noticed that the cuts on the bone did not correspond to animal bite marks, but indicated the use of a stone tool to remove flesh from the bone. These discoveries confirm that Homo Sapiens' ancient relatives may have practiced cannibalism more than 1.45 million years ago. This indicates that species in the human evolutionary tree were eating each other long before the periods we know.

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Once the casts of the cuts were created, they were scanned in 3D and compared to other bone damage caused by trampling, teeth, and tools. Nine of the eleven cuts on the tibia were found to be consistent with damage caused by a stone tool.

Interestingly, although it is not possible to determine exactly who used the stone to damage and consume meat, there are some clues that ancient hominins attempted to cook and consume the meat of their relatives. The cuts are in the area where the calf muscle is located, indicating that the tool was wielded by an experienced person. These cuts are very similar to those seen on the fossilized remains of animals that have been butchered for food. Probably, the meat from this leg was used for food, not for ritual purposes.

As for the species identification, the fossil was first identified as Australopithecus boisei, and later, in 1990, as Homo erectus. At present, scientists cannot unequivocally determine who these fossils belong to.

As a reminder, scientists have answered which asteroids can destroy the Earth and when it can happen.

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