BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Experts have revealed gruesome evidence that shows Neanderthals butchered each other 40,000 years ago. This is the first evidence of cannibalism among these ancient humanoids in the North of the Alps. Bones from Neanderthals were found at an excavation site in Goyet town’s caves, Belgium, proving that intentional butchering was a regular occurrence.
The skeleton remains were carbon-dated to 40,500 to 45,500 years ago. These late Neanderthals used the bones of their kind as tools. 99 previously unidentifiable bone fragments have been discovered to be Neanderthal cannibal bones. This makes Goyet the town with the largest amount of Neanderthal remains of the Northern Alps.
By observing the analysis of the DNA, experts have doubled the existing genetic data on this human species, which died approximately 30,000 years ago. Earlier studies showing a little degree of genetic variation, meaning these humanoids were closely related, have been confirmed.
Researchers found that Neanderthals butchered each other thoroughly: there is an indication of skinning, cutting up and extracting bone marrow out of human remains. These findings have lead scientists to believe that Neanderthals were cannibals.
To date, it is impossible to tell whether Neanderthals butchered each other for religious or symbolical purposes, or simply to eat. Many horses and reindeer fossils were processed similarly.
Experts have been questioning themselves whether Neanderthals were cannibals or not. Now, that answer has come, and it’s affirmative. Until now, research has been focusing on Spain and France.
The caves in Belgium are the first example of this phenomenon in Western Europe. The bones resulted after the skinning process were used to craft tools. In other parts of Western Europe, Neanderthal sites which have been explored showcased a greater diversity in tools.
Experts have uncovered five Neanderthal individual’s bones, lying in a cave alongside other animal remains, close to Goyet, Belgium. These bones belonged to four teenagers and a child.
The ribs showed signs of manual tear. The larger bones were pitted, leading to the conclusion that someone had tried to suck out the marrow. Other bones have crafting traces, suggesting they’d been used to sharpen stone tools.
Neanderthals gathered in small groups, so researchers can’t be sure why some groups practiced cannibalism and others did not. Maybe conflict, food scarcity or something else drove these Neanderthals to eat their flesh.
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