Were The Earliest Human Species Cannibals?

Posted by on May 27th, 2010

A new finding suggests the earliest known human species swung from trees had the tools to make fire and was likely fond of eating other hominins.


The H. gautengensis fossils were found alongside basic stone tools and evidence of the use of fire. The most complete human ancestor skull from the sediments associated with H. gautengensis is a widely studied mid-1970s discovery labeled Stw 53.

The stone tools would have been used for “‘de-fleshing’ and cutting open bones to access marrow, and probably also for digging and [preparing] plant foods,” he said. “They might also have been used for processing animal hides.”

Cut marks on the Stw 53 skull hint at darker practices—”that it was de-fleshed, either for ritual burial or cannibalistic consumption.”

There is some really fascinating stuff (including more detail on how primitive tools were used to de-flesh things) in the this article so please read it.

[National Geographic]

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