Research shows early humans were consumed by other animals.
Searching through fossil remains in a cave in Morocco, scientists say they have found evidence of a human that was devoured by a hyena some 500,000 years ago, according to Discovery.com.
The fossil bone, a human thighbone, became part of a growing number of examples of humans being consumed as food by other animals in our past history. It is strongly believed that humans were hunted as prey, prior to increasing their numbers and developing weapons for not only protecting themselves, but turning the tables and becoming the predators as well.
Leader of the project, Camille Daujeard, and colleagues performed an analysis on the bone, found in a cave with the name, Grotte a Hominides, near Casablanca in Morocco. The consumed human was likely of a species very much like humans are today, since most of the other discoveries in the area fit that mold. The researchers were not able to determine if the hyena actually killed the human for food, or simply came across an already dead body to make its meal.
The examination of the bone revealed many tooth marks, and the way in which the bone was eaten led the researchers to believe a hyena was the one who dined. It appeared after the flesh was consumed, the hyena crushed the ends of the bone and consumed the marrow as well.
The study, reported in the journal PLOS ONE, said this was a time where animals and humans were living in a close relationship with each other and sharing the same living areas. It appears the relationships may have been too close, according to the authors, adding there was “competition for resources as well as for living spaces.”
Other evidence revealed a number of animals were also living in close proximity with the humans, who likely hunted most of them for food. We may never know the extent of who was the predator and who was the prey at this particular time, but it seems the process went in both directions.
Daujeard call the discovery one of the few examples where hominid consumption by carnivores is proven, but the researchers suspect it must have been a common occurrence.