Did early humans eat their CHILDREN? 100,000-year-old thigh bones unearthed in China show signs of bite marks
- Archaeologists found pieces of thigh bone close to Xuchang city, China
- The bones are thought to have belonged to an extinct human species
- They were found at the same site as 100,000-year-old skull fragments
- The thigh bones belonged to a young male and had been gnawed
An early human child living 100,000 years ago may have been a victim of cannibalism.
Researchers say two pieces of thigh bone, which are thought to belong to an extinct human species living in what is now modern China, bore bite marks.
The bones are thought to belong to an early human species which has been nicknamed Xuchang Man after being found at a site 9 miles (15km) from Xuchang city in China’s Henan province.
These two thigh bones, thought to belong to an early human species that lived 100,000 years ago, discovered close to Xuchang city in China’s Henan province show signs of having been gnawed. Archaeologists leading the excavation believe the bite marks may have been made by other early humans in an act of cannabilism
The remains are thought to fill an evolutionary gap between the remains of so-called Peking Man and modern Homo sapiens in China.
According to the South China Morning Post, Li Zhanyang, the lead archaeologist who has been examining the bones, said there were ‘signs of biting and gnawing’ on the bones.
While the marks could have been left by carnivorous animals, they may also have been left by other early humans.
Speaking to the Guangming Daily, Mr Zhanyang added: ‘The possibility of fellow hominds eating nutritious content from the bones could not be ruled out.’
The fragments of thigh bone were found at the same site as sixteen pieces of a skull which were found in 2008. They still bore traces of a fossilised membrane that surround the brain.
Archaeologists at the time said the skull appeared to have protruding eyebrows and a small forehead. It is thought to have belonged to young male, possibly a child.
Ancient stone tools and animal fossils were also discovered at the same site.
The discoveries provide crucial evidence in a controversial debate about whether much of China’s population evolved there or are descended from Homo sapien’s who migrated there.
This piece of skull was found at the same site as the thigh bones in 2012. It is thought to belong to an early species of human that has been nicknamed Xuchang man. Researchers said it also bore the fossilised remains of a membrane that surrounded the brain, potentially providing insights into their nervous system
The prevailing view is that all modern humans are descended from Homo sapiens who migrated out of Africa around 70,000 years ago.
Recent DNA evidence has also suggested there was early inbreeding between these modern humans and extinct species like the Neanderthals in Europe and Denisovans in Asia.
Evidence for cannibalism among early humans has been found before by archaeologists and early humans are thought to have got much of their meat by scavenging.
Archaeologists found sixteen fragments of skull from Xuchang Man in 2012, shown above. They are being studied in an attempt to end the long running debate about how China’s current population evolved
The fossilised bones found at Xuchang are thought to fill in a gap in the evolutionary record between the time when Peking Man, shown in the reconstruction above, lived in China up to 780,000 years ago and modern humans who live there now
CAVEMEN MADE CUPS FROM THE SKULLS OF THEIR DEAD
Prehistoric humans living in a cave 14,700 years ago were cannibals and made cups from the skulls of the dead, a new study has found.
Researchers at the Natural History Museum in London and University College London have found evidence that the human bones found in Gough’s Cave in Somerset had the flesh cut from them before being chewed and crushed.
They found tooth marks on many of the bones, which were discovered in the cave during excavations between 1880 and 1992.
Human skulls found in the cave had also been extensively shaped to create cups or bowls.
The archaeologists behind the study say the findings suggest people living in the late Ice Age indulged in ritual cannibalism, perhaps as a macabre way to revere their dead kin.