WARNING: We’re about to get a little graphic here so tune out now if you can’t handle discussing cannibalism. That’s right. Archaeologists believe that Neanderthals (aka cavemen) used to eat each other. So going full Paleo also requires going cannibal.
I’ll spare you the goriest details because no one really wants to read them (and also because I don’t fully understand all of that fancy archaeological jargon). But, in a nutshell, one particular archaeologist once decided how to determine if Neanderthal remains provide proof of cannibalism. Because why not.
Basically, archaeologists have to compare caveman and animals remains from the same area, and if they share four key characteristics, we can pretty definitely say cannibalism happened there.
The human and animal bones must be (1) cut or chopped in similar ways, while accounting for anatomical differences; (2) broken in similar patterns that allow for extraction of the marrow; (3) processed and discarded in identical manners; and (4) show evidence of similar cooking methods.
Phew, I’m glad we made it through that. Now we can get to the (slightly) less graphic stuff. In 1999, archaeologists discovered Neanderthal remains that met these criteria at a site in Spain. These remains became the “earliest undisputed evidence of cannibalism” among cavemen.
Since then, archaeologists have found proof of cannibalism at another site in Spain and two more in France. And just last month, another paper reported discovering evidence of caveman cannibalism in Northern Europe. So this wasn’t just an isolated incident.
It also likely wasn’t a last resort. The availability of other food indicates that they didn’t need cannibalism to avoid starvation. Rather, cavemen may have done it regularly, or at least ritualistically. So, yah, there’s the Paleo diet for you.
Of course, we didn’t get this information straight from the source (cavemen that is). Still, when multiple archaeologists have come to the same conclusion, it becomes difficult to deny that cavemen ate other cavemen.
Now, we here at Spoon definitely don’t advocate going full Paleo. We do, however, advocate fully researching and understanding all fad diets before adopting them. Sometimes, they are not quite as healthy (or as legal) as they may seem.