We’ve long speculated about whether or not Neanderthals interbred with early modern man. Some scientists say that we’re the ones who branched off from the family tree?that Neanderthals were the “normal” humans. If the Neanderthals hadn’t died out, we all might be cannibals today.

When Neanderthals suffered periods of starvation, they may have resorted to cannibalism. This the conclusion that a group of paleobiologists came to after studying eight 43,000-year-old Neanderthal skeletons that were excavated from an underground cave in Spain. The bones revealed cut marks, as well as evidence that they had been torn apart.

In LiveScience.com, Andrea Thompson quotes researcher Antonio Rosas as saying, “There is strong evidence suggesting that these Neanderthals were eaten. That is, long bones and the skull were broken for extraction of the marrow, [which] is very nutritious?I would say this practice?was general among Neanderthal populations.” He has also found evidence of Neanderthal cannibalism at other European sites.

In another article on LiveScience.com, Charles Q. Choi quotes anthropologist Erik Trinkaus as saying, “?In terms of evolution of our family tree, the genus Homo, we’re the outliers and the Neanderthals are more toward the core?It just happens that we happen to be alive today and Neanderthals are not.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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