Study: How Much Ancient Cannibals Consume In Calories With Human Flesh As Food For Cannibals [VIDEO]
Ancient cannibals may not have engaged in the morbid eating habits solely for fulfilling their nutritional needs. After all, eating human flesh as food for cannibals can only satisfy 25 male adults for less than a day, a researcher found.
James Cole, a lecturer of archaeology at the University of Brighton in England, was fascinated at the peculiar dining practice of eating human flesh as food for cannibals. It is a widely accepted notion among researchers that the ancient cannibals, the hominins -- referring to extinct human species, modern humans and our immediate ancestors -- did so for nutritional purposes.
There are proofs that cannibalism was once a way of life. In Europe, archaeologists have found hominin bones which appear to have been the object of someone's palate. This has spurred Cole's curiosity so he set out to determine whether the human flesh was just the ancient cannibal's attempt to meet his caloric needs.
Based on available information from studies analyzing the cadaver of four men whose ages were between 35 and 60 years old, he concluded that the human body is a mere 125,822 calories. The heart amounts to 650 calories; liver 2,569; nerve tissue 2,001; lungs 1,596; brain 2,706; upper arms 7,451 and calves 4,486 calories. The thighs have the highest at 13,354 calories.
He further investigated whether the ancient animals would have been more nutritionally fulfilling. The mammoth's muscle would have provided 3.6 million calories and woolly rhinos 1.26 million calories. It was enough to feed men for many days.
He supposed that ancient cannibalism must have had cultural reasons linked to religion or warfare, according to The Verge. Cole admitted that the sample used in the study may be too small and was limited only to males.
It does not give an insight into female and younger age group values. It does not also take into account the heavier Neanderthals who had relatively different physique than modern humans either.
Despite that, anthropologists concur that ancient cannibalism made more sense when taken in a cultural context, the New York Times reported.