Cannibalism Through The Ages

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate January 2002

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Cannibalism Through The Ages Cannibalism has always been a controversial issue. A person cutting someone else's foot off, frying it in a pan, then eating each toe one by one"¦ just the very talk of it makes some people feel ill. They wonder why someone would actually eat another human being. Through movies like Silence of the Lambs and Alive, people have seen the reasons why cannibals eat what they eat. Whether it is extreme starvation or homicidal tendencies, the general public does not like the idea of eating one of their own kind, even if the reason is justified. Contrary to popular belief, cannibalism was widely practiced throughout history (well not widely, but people did it). It happened during prehistoric times, colonial times, and even today. The Neanderthals did it, the Aztecs did it, the Chinese do it, so why doesn't everybody else do it? According to recent findings in France by anthropologists, the Neanderthals evidently ate bears, wolves, deer, and"¦ oh yes"¦ humans.

These Neanderthals, who lived in Europe from 120,000 to 30,000 years ago, butchered their fellow friends, ate what was inside (including the brains), and then threw away the bones along with the other animal bones. Six skeletons were found in a cave in France that show cuts and chip marks on the bones. Most skeptics say that the marks are from other carnivore animals that ate the people, but marks were found on the side and inside of the skull, which could only have been done with a stone tool and a creature with an opposable thumb. Other skeptics say that the Neanderthals may have cut up their comrades as a burial custom, and didn't eat them at all. Those types of burial customs are somewhat common in scattered parts of the world. But these...