Cavemen were butchering and eating each other 1.45 million years ago, scientists say

CAVEMEN were butchering and eating each other 1.45 million years ago, scientists have discovered.

Cuts on a fossilised shin show cannibalism dates back much earlier than thought.

Our ancient ancestors were cannibals 1.45 million years ago

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Our ancient ancestors were cannibals 1.45 million years agoCredit: Alamy
Cuts found on fossilised shin bones suggest a prehistoric butcher was hacking at human legs

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Cuts found on fossilised shin bones suggest a prehistoric butcher was hacking at human legsCredit: Hanna Barbara

Our ancient ancestors hunted animals including antelope and munched on fruits, leaves and insects — but when times were hard it looks like they dined on their neighbours.

Experts say they may have slaughtered each other, or scavenged meat off the badly wounded.

Examination of a tibia found in Kenya and kept in a museum in Nairobi showed bite marks from a sabre-toothed tiger — plus nine tool marks.

The slashes were where the calf muscle attached to the bone — the mark of an expert butcher.

Dr Briana Pobiner, of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, said: “It seems most likely that the meat from this leg was eaten and that it was eaten for nutrition as opposed to for a ritual.”

The prehistoric Hannibal Lecters were more chimp-like, shorter and beefier than modern people, and most likely species known as Homo erectus or Homo habilis.

Dr Pobiner’s team told journal Scientific Reports it was “one species chowing down on its evolutionary cousin”.

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