Cannibalism has existed since the dawn of time. However a researcher recently rewarded for their study has explained that human meat wouldn’t really be of any nutritional interest!
Since humanity has existed, humans have eaten other humans. It is no real news and it still happens today. Just take the American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as an example, also called the “Milwaukee cannibal”, who murdered 17 young men between 1978 and 1991. The killer was found guilty of rape, dismemberment, cannibalism and even necrophilia!
James Cole, archaeologist from the University of Brighton, has recently received an Ig Nobel prize for his work published in April 201 7 in the Scientific Reports journal. The researcher attempted to understand why Neanderthal humans ate other humans during this period. According to him, it was because it “allowed their peers to survive through them“, meaning it was due to a more complex reason than just a simple question of physical survival, affecting perhaps a certain spirituality.
The archaeologist said that human meat isn’t exceptionally high in calories only 1300 kcal per kilogram. Compared with meat from a wild boar which has 4000 kcal per kg, human meat isn’t really as interesting. Human meat does not have as much nutritional interest in comparison to wild animals (like venison, horse meat, etc) which are a lot richer and or therefore more “profitable”.
In addition, James Cole stated that cannibalism has never been chosen by evolution might also be because humans are able to defend themselves more so than other animals. Or perhaps because they have a family that is ready to take revenge.
“It is probably more difficult to hunt or capture a member of your own species – which is just as intelligent and just as capable of fighting as you – than to hunt the representative of another species, such as a horse, for example, ” explained the archaeologist.
The expert also discussed the taste of human meat. According to him, it had a game-like taste of deer – because of the lifestyle of the time!