In Northern Spain Scientists have discovered the remains of a group of Neanderthals who presumably have been butchered and eaten by another group of local cannibals.
It was found in the area a cache of bones which had clearly been cracked open using tools. This has been subject of study for the past 13th years, it was first discovered deep inside the El Sidron cave system around 1994, the bones had been preserved for at least 51.000 years and have been analysed using modern-day CSI forensic techniques.
Apparently among the the slaughtered group there were also three children aged from two to nine years old and also three teenagers and six adults.
Carles Lalueza-Fox of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona i one of the persons involved in this archaeological case, and he tells us ” They appear to have been killed and eaten, with their bones and skulls split open to extract the marrow, tongue and brains “. “All had been butchered. It must have been a big feast.”
He also added that the bone pile was likely washed through a sinkhole from a rocky shelter above, eventually settling in the small alcove of the cave system where they were found. This means that they were kept in a condition unlike almost any other Neanderthal remains, and proved a perfect snapshot of a single, deadly clash, likely between two local tribes. The tools found at the site of the slaughter came from a few kilometres away, suggesting their fellow early human attackers were probably also their neighbours.
Finally, scientists proposed a theory for the motive behind the attack, quite simple actually.
Unlike the earliest anatomically modern humans, who coped with periods of food shortage by joining forces in large, efficient groups, Neanderthals tended to gather in small family tribes of around 10 to 12 individuals. When times were tough in winter, this meant they had to resort to extreme measures.
Dr Lalueza-Fox said: “I would guess they were killed in winter when food was short. There is no evidence of any fire so they were eaten raw immediately and every bit of meat was consumed. They even cut around the mandibles of the jaw to extract the tongues.”