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Intergroup cannibalism in the European Early Pleistocene: The range expansion and imbalance of power hypotheses



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Saladié, Palmira and Huguet Pamiès, Rosa and Rodríguez Hidalgo, Antonio and Cáceres Cuello de Oro, Isabel and Esteban Nadal, Montserrat and Arsuaga, Juan Luis and Bermúdez de Castro, José María and Carbonell i Roura, Eudald (2012) Intergroup cannibalism in the European Early Pleistocene: The range expansion and imbalance of power hypotheses. Journal of Human Evolution, 63 . pp. 682-695. ISSN 0047-2484

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Official URL: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-human-evolution


In this paper, we compare cannibalism in chimpanzees, modern humans, and in archaeological cases
with cannibalism inferred from evidence from the Early Pleistocene assemblage of level TD6 of Gran
Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain). The cannibalism documented in level TD6 mainly involves the
consumption of infants and other immature individuals. The human induced modifications on Homo
antecessor and deer remains suggest that butchering processes were similar for both taxa, and the
remains were discarded on the living floor in the same way. This finding implies that a group of hominins
that used the Gran Dolina cave periodically hunted and consumed individuals from another group.
However, the age distribution of the cannibalized hominins in the TD6 assemblage is not consistent with
that from other cases of exo-cannibalism by human/hominin groups. Instead, it is similar to the age
profiles seen in cannibalism associated with intergroup aggression in chimpanzees. For this reason, we
use an analogy with chimpanzees to propose that the TD6 hominins mounted low-risk attacks on
members of other groups to defend access to resources within their own territories and to try and
expand their territories at the expense of neighboring groups.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Homo antecessor, Taphonomy, Chimpanzees, Nutritional, Cannibalism, Spain
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:27075
Deposited On:20 Oct 2014 09:56
Last Modified:11 Dec 2018 08:42

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