France, researchers from the University of Bordeaux say that Neanderthals may have eaten their dead children as well as adult carcasses based on the found bone fossils of two adults and a child.
The Neanderthals belong to the genus Homo which nowadays are the extinct species of human. They were most likely associated with modern human being, dissenting in DNA by just 0.12%.
Poitou-Charentes a low-lying region of France in 1976 and 1980 discovered the analysis of the specimens that shows evidence of cuts made soon after death to sever limbs from the body.
Professor Maria Dolores Garralda, Spain’s Information and Scientific News Service (SINC – Servicio de Información y Noticias Científicas), and also works at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, and is also a researcher at the University of Bordeaux France, said in an interview:
“Some Neanderthal groups cut and tore apart child or adult corpses shortly after death(perimortem) using lytic instruments.”
There are no testimonies of cuts or traces of carnivores teeth on the separated bones, which points to them being removed deliberately either to be eaten or used in some type of funeral ceremony.
A femur (thigh bone) fragment, which the scientists believe came from a child who died at the age of 9 or 10, has two large cut marks half-a-centimeter apart. Evidence suggests the bone was fractured while it is still fresh, where the joints are located the cutters trying to separate the upper and lower extreme of the femur.
“The upper edge exhibits marks of a “post-mortem” impact with conchoidal markings (those that does not follow natural separation positions).”
“Given the morphology of the fractures, it can be that the body of this child was pulled strings shortly after death. The right leg obtained a series of blows that fractured the femur, and the cut marks discovered are anthropic in nature; in other words, there is no seeable evidence of animal bites.”
Prof. Garralda believes they could have been done as part of a ritual rite. Similar processes that still exist today in some parts of the world. She also suggests that the limbs were separated “for food – gastronomic cannibalism, or due to need.”