A French fossil expert believes he's solved one of the great mysteries of science — the question of why Neanderthals disappeared. His theory? Humans ate them.
The controversial suggestion follows publication of a study in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences about a Neanderthal jawbone apparently butchered by modern humans. Now the leader of the research team says he believes the flesh had been eaten by humans, while its teeth may have been used to make a necklace.
Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la Récherche Scientifique, said the jawbone had probably been cut into to remove flesh, including the tongue. Crucially, the butchery was similar to that used by humans to cut up deer carcass in the early Stone Age.
"Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands and in some cases we ate them," Rozzi said.
The idea will provoke considerable opposition from scientists who believe Neanderthals disappeared for reasons that did not involve violence.
How Neanderthals met a grisly fate: devoured by humans (Guardian UK, photo via Wikipedia)