In the journal Current Anthropology, a team led by archaeologist Eudald Carbonell of Spain’s University of Rovira and Virgili, report fossil evidence of continuous cannibalism – cut marks and butchering remains – as a way of life among the Homo antecessor inhabitants of the Atapuerca Mountains archeological site.
From a sample of some 1,039 bones that included mammoths, buffalo, cats and other butchered species found in the cave level deposited more than 800,000 years ago, there also emerged 159 bones from 11 H. antecessor individuals, they report:
“Cut marks (slicing, chop, and scraping marks) on the cranial segment are abundant on the base of the temporal bones, face, and zygomatic bones: segments with a large amount of muscular attachments and ligaments. Cut marks found on the face indicate skinning and defleshing activities. Cranial fragments also display abundant evidence of breakage (percussion pits and adhered flakes) mainly located on the lower part of the cranium. The majority of zygomatic bones are broken in a similar manner to those documented in Native American cannibalized remains and Neolithic (post 9500 BC) individuals,” says the study.