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"Neanderthals suffered periods of starvation and may have supplemented their diet through cannibalism, according to a study of remains from northwest Spain."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20061204/sc_livescience/neanderthalswerecannibalsstudyconfirms

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It's not surprising. All populations go through hard times, either because of changing climate or because of their own overpopulation developed as a result of especially good times. Of course the cannibalism may have been ritual. Could be an interesting line of research.

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Quote:
Originally posted by terrytnewzealand:
It's not surprising...................... Of course the cannibalism may have been ritual. Could be an interesting line of research.
You are right about ritual Cannibalism, Terry.

Cannibalism, was discovered in New Guinea, at the end of World War II. It was practised by a few previously undiscovered tribes who lived in the highlands. It was noticed that the natives died young, from a malady which turned them into simple zombies, unable to communicate, or walk properly.
It was first thought to be a genetic defect or unknown disease, which was named 'Kuru' after the tribe which showed the defect.
But further research in the 1960's found that it was a prion disease related to 'mad cow disease or scrapie, their brain was shown to have multiple voids in them (like AIDS)
It was finally shown to be transmitted by cannibalism, practised by the younger tribesmen who honoured their older relatives, by eating them.
There was food in abundance there, so it was purely a ritual that had been going on for prehaps hundreds of years.
At about the 1980's it was shown to the tribes that it was their cannibalism that caused them to die paralysed in a vegetative state.
No child born, since cannibalism ceased, has ever caught Kuru.

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"You will never find a real Human being - even in a mirror." .....Mike Kremer.
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Mike, I had heard about that disease. Although it has become fashionable to deny it many Maori tribes in NZ used to be cannibals. The practice may have started with the collapse of resources the occurred two or three hundred years after the Polynesians arrived but it was certainly mainly ritual by the time Europeans reached here. It took the mana of a defeated enemy, it insulted them to be turned to excrement.

Now, was Neanderthal cannibalism ritual? It is fashionable to believe Neanderthals didn't have an advanced culture, perhaps not even language. If their cannibalism was ritual it would prove they did have an advanced culture, including language.

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Interesting idea Terry.
However it could just as well mean that cannibalism was practised in times of famine?
I remember reading about excavation of the floor of a cave in South Africa, where red ochre beads were discovered and attributed to Neanderthals. I would'nt place any credibility to any bead finds, unless they were photographed in situ while being excavated, with comments.
Certainly not this picture
http://seqf.club.fr/sitegb/Anc_neand.htm


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Mike, it could easily be that cannibalism was to do with starvation rather than culture. Regarding the beads. Technically Neanderthals didn't live anywhere in Africa so the beads could not be Neanderthal. I presume they mean the beads date to between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. Of course Neanderthals of the Chatelperronian made beads in Western Europe about 30,000 years ago and so must have had some artistic sensitivity by that time.


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