Study: Prehistoric Humans Were Not Very Nutritious
Prehistoric people may have hunted and killed other members of their own species and eaten them, but probably not for food.
That is what a new study written by James Cole of the University of Brighton in England says. Cole says compared to large animals, humans do not provide much food. His study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Cole studied nine places where fossils have been found and where researchers have found evidence of cannibalism. Such signs include cutting marks on the bones.
Scientists dated the sites to between 14,000 and more than 900,000 years ago. That is the so-called Paleolithic period, also known as the Stone Age.
Five of the sites had Neanderthal fossils, the remains of earlier human ancestors. Two sites had fossils of prehistoric members of our own species and the others had fossils from much earlier human ancestors.
Cole estimated how many calories each of the bodies at each site had. He used earlier studies that found eating an average-sized modern-day human could provide up to 144,000 calories. He then made his estimates, based on the ages of the bodies at the sites.
The researcher found that the hunters would not get as much energy from the humans as they would from one large animal -- like a mammoth, a woolly rhino or a bear. So, Cole asked, why would the early humans hunt and kill their own species?
"You're dealing with an animal that is as smart as you are, as resourceful as you are, and can fight back in the way you fight them," Cole noted.
He says our ancestors may have eaten members of their species who had died because they did not have to be hunted. But he says cannibalism probably took place for reasons other than the need for food. He said it could have happened after times of violence or to defend territory.
Tim White of the University of California, Berkeley and Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Museum in Boulder said they do not know any scientists who believe our ancestors hunted each other for food. In an email, Villa said the new study "does not change our general understanding of human cannibalism."
But Palmira Saladie, of the Catalan Institute for Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution near Barcelona, Spain, said Cole's study "will undoubtedly be key in the interpretation of new sites (and) the reevaluation of old interpretations."
In an email, she wrote that, to understand why our ancestors sometimes ate each other, "we still have a long way to go."
I'm Dorothy Gundy.
1.known as 被称为
In Los Angeles, the neighborhood known as Watts erupted into riots.
2.based on 以...为基础
The study was based on data from 2,100 women.
3.dealing with 处理；对待
We came up against a great deal of resistance in dealing with the case.
4.took place 发生；进行
The interview took place on a Friday afternoon.
1."You're dealing with an animal that is as smart as you are, as resourceful as you are, and can fight back in the way you fight them," Cole noted.
fight back 回击；抵抗
I came outside to help you only when you started to fight back.
He showed me how to fight back.
2.In an email, she wrote that, to understand why our ancestors sometimes ate each other, "we still have a long way to go."
have a long way to go 有很长的路要走
We and you both have a long way to go.
I was taking stock of my career and I realized I still have a long way to go.
以上结论出自英格兰布莱顿大学詹姆斯·科尔的一项新研究 。科尔称，与大型动物相比，人类能够提供的食物有限 。该研究刊登在《科学报告》杂志 。
科尔研究了9处化石遗址，那里有食人陋习的迹象 。迹象之一就是骨头上的切痕 。
科学家们认为这些遗址可追溯到14,000千年前至90万年前 。即“旧石器时代”，也称“石器时代” 。
其中的五处遗址发现了早期人类祖先——尼安德特人的化石 。两处遗址出现了我们原始人类的化石，在其他的遗址中还发现了更为早期的人类祖先化石 。
科尔估算了遗址中所有尸体所含的卡路里 。他利用先前得出的结论，即吃掉一个平均身高的现代人可提供144,000卡路里 。之后再根据遗址尸体的年龄进行推算 。
他还称，也许祖先会吃掉死去的同类，从而避免他们被别人猎杀 。但他指出，同类相食的动机也许不是为了获取食物 。也许是暴乱或保卫领土而采取的行为 。
加利福尼亚大学伯克利分校的蒂姆·怀特（Tim White）和博尔德科罗拉多大学博物馆的宝拉·维拉（Paola Villa）表示，他们不知道哪个科学家会相信祖先是为了食物而相互残杀 。维拉在一封邮件中表示，新的研究“不会改变我们对人类同类相食行为的常规认识 。”
不过，西班牙巴塞罗那附近的加泰罗尼亚人类古生态学和社会进化研究所的帕尔米拉·塞拉蒂（Palmira Saladie）却表示，科尔的研究“毫无疑问将成为解读新遗址，重新评估旧式解读的关键 。”