This discovery will shake you right to the core. Bones belonging to Neanderthals were discovered on the prehistoric site of Baume Moula-Guercy in south-eastern France in the 19990s. They have recently been reexamined by researchers from the French CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) and their findings reveal a very dark chapter in our ancestors’ history.
Hunger and brutality
According to archaeologists, these bones belonged to two adults, two adolescents and two children who lived approximately 120,000 to 130,000 years ago. And they show clear signs of hunger and brutality. But why? According to experts, this is because the Neanderthals indulged in cannibalism. Palaeontologist Emmanuel Desclaux, a researcher at CNRS, explained:
‘The change of climate from the glacial period to the last interglacial was very abrupt. We’re not [talking] in terms of geological scale, but more a human scale. Maybe within a few generations, the landscape totally changed.’
Forced to adapt to a rapid change in climate
As the scientists explain, our planet warmed up over the years and the sea level rose as a consequence. The result was that plants and animals had to change and adapt and furthermore, the hunter-gatherers, who had adapted perfectly to the extremely cold temperatures that they had grown accustomed to during the previous millennia, had to quickly change their way of life.
'Cut marks spread over 50 per cent of the human remains and distributed over the entire skeleton from the cranium, jaws and bones in the bone. Percussion marks are visible on all the skulls, all the long bones and other bones of adult and children.’
This theory is so far only a hypothesis, but considering what we already know about the Neanderthals, it is highly plausible.
'The work at the Moula-Guercy cave allows us for the first time to demonstrate the existence of the practice of cannibalism by European Neanderthals,’ explain the specialists. They believe that this was probably an isolated case of cannibalism due to a ‘warming world [in which there was an] absent of game for meat’.
Another drastic climate change is imminent
Today, we are currently facing our own drastic climate change. More and more rare plant species could end up disappearing from the surface of the world forever and the list of animals that are under threat of extinction continues to grow. But this time, it could be a man that causes our climate change and the consequences that follow… One possible measure could be to ban people from eating meat.