Analysis of the marks found on a 1.4-million-year-old tibia suggest that they were made with stone tools.
Scientists from different US research centers have identified the oldest known evidence that hominids are evolutionarily close to humans. they were hunted and probably practiced cannibalismreports the Smithsonian Institution.
According to the institution, Briana Pobiner, a paleoanthropologist at the US National Museum of Natural History, discovered a series of marks on a fossilized tibia of 1.4 million of years of antiquity while investigating in the collections of the National Museum of Nairobi, in Kenya, what type of predators could have fed on ancient hominids.
To determine what had caused the marks, he created casts of the marks and sent them to one of his colleagues at Colorado State University for analysis. From the prints, Michael Pante, co-author of the research, created 3d models of the prints and compared their shape to a database of individual marks created through controlled experiments.
As detailed by the researchers in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports, they identified 9 o’clock brands as “clear matches to the type of damage inflicted by stone tools” during dismemberment. The other two marks, they note, “could have come from one of three different types of saber-toothed cats that roamed the landscape at the time the owner of this tibia lived.”
While the markings by themselves don’t prove that the hominid was eaten by its own species, Pobiner explained that the markings are in the area where the calf muscle connects to the bone, an ideal place to extract a piece of meat. In addition, he specified, they are all oriented in the same way and have similar angles, which reinforces the idea that the hominid was processed for consumption.
According to the expert, this is the oldest known case in which a hominid was consumed by another. “There are numerous other examples of species on the human evolutionary tree consuming each other for food, but this fossil suggests that relatives of our species ate each other to survive further back than we recognised,” she said.
If you liked it, share it with your friends!