The ancestor species of modern humans and Neanderthals who lived in Spain a million years ago resorted to CANNIBALISM because it was more profitable than hunting other animals
- It is debated whether Homo antecessor is its own species or part of a known
- Their descendants evolved into Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.
- Researchers have found what they call "unquestionable signs of cannibalism"
- Their flesh was nutritious, but it was not as beneficial as other animals.
- However, due to the ease of capture and killing, it was more profitable to eat
Published: 10:16 EDT, May 9, 2019 | Updated: 11:00 EDT, May 9, 2019
A former human ancestor who lived a million years ago participated in cannibalism, scientists say.
They say that eating their own species was a good survival technique for the ancestor of Homo, since it requires spending very little energy to trap and kill them.
It is debated whether Homo ancestor is its own species or the first members of the species Homo heidelbergensis.
It is believed that their descendants evolved into Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.
The badysis found that for these hominid primates, killing other animals would have been much more difficult than eating their own species.
The researchers found "indisputable signs of cannibalism" and say that meat was nutritious for primitive people.
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An ancient human ancestor, the homo ancestor, lived a million years ago and dedicated himself to cannibalism, scientists say. These skull bones belong to the & # 39; Child of Great Dolina & # 39; and they were some of the remains studied by the researchers (file photo)
Researchers at the National Research Center on Human Evolution (CENIEH) in Spain studied the bones of seven individuals at the Spanish Gran Dolina archaeological site.
They found that the remains showed clear evidence of being cannibalized, with marks of human teeth, cuts and fractures that expose the marrow that was found.
These remains were found among nine other species of mammals and 22 individuals that were not consumed.
The researchers used a mathematical model to understand why cannibalism would occur, since there were many other prey available.
They estimated the amount of food that could have been obtained from each of the animals consumed and the effort that would have involved obtaining and processing one of these animals.
Then they calculated the cost and benefit of consuming other humans compared to the data of other dams.
They discovered that other animals had more calories per meal per bite, but the ease and lack of effort needed to trap humans made them more energy efficient in the long run.
Human bones constituted 13 percent of the hunter's calories, and the rest came from animals such as rhinos and deer, a hunt that requires more energy.
This skeleton is an example of an ancestor Homo: it is believed that it is the final common ancestor shared by Homo sapiens and Neandertals before the two species separate definitively (file photo)
"Our badyzes show that Homo antecessor, like any predator, selected its prey following the principle of optimizing the cost-benefit balance, and also shows that, considering only this balance, humans were a type of" high-ranking "prey, said Jesús Rodríguez, lead author of the study.
"This means that, compared to other dams, you can get a large amount of human food at low cost."
One result that surprised the researchers was that cannibalism was more common than might be expected.
"For Homo antecessor it was easier to find a human than another animal," added Ana Mateos, who participated in the study.
"One of the possible explanations for this high rate of encounter between humans could be that the cannibalized corpses were those of group members who had died for different reasons."
The research was published in the Journal of Human Evolution.
WHO WERE THE HOMO ANTECESSORS?
A realistic model of a female ancestor Homo is posed that extracts the brains of the decapitated head.
Homo antecessor is one of the first known varieties of humans discovered in Europe, dating back a million years.
It is believed that it weighed around 14 stones, it was said that the Homo antecessor was between 5.5 and 6 feet tall.
The size of their brains was approximately between 1,000 and 1,150 cm³, which is smaller than the average of the brains of 1,350 cm³ of modern humans.
It is believed that the species was right-handed, differentiating it from other apes, and may have used a symbolic language, according to archaeologists who found remains in Burgos, Spain, in 1994.
How the Homo antecessor can be related to other Homo species in Europe has a subject of fierce debate.
Many anthropologists believe that there was an evolutionary link between Homo ergaster and Homo heidelbergensis.
The archaeologist Richard Klein states that Homo antecessor was a completely different species, which evolved from Homo ergaster.
However, others claim that the Homo antecessor is actually the same species as Homo heidelbergensis, which lived in Europe between 600,000 and 250,000 years ago in the Pleistocene era.
In 2010 stone tools were found on the same site in Happisburgh, Norfolk, which is believed to have been used by the Homo predecessor.
Scientists believe that these first human species reproduce with each other on a regular basis.
Dr. Matthias Meyer, paleogeneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, Germany, said: "The evolutionary history of archaic humans in the Middle Pleistocene was quite complex.
It could be that both the ancestors of the Sima people and the Denisovans crossed paths with another archaic group such as Homo antecessor or Homo erectus.
"Or it's possible that the mitochondrial DNA we know of late Neanderthals comes from another group that left Africa."