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Apr 15, 2017 10:13 AM EDT

Science has found evidence long ago that early humans resorted to cannibalism. However, the long-held belief that it was because of survival purposes is being challenged with a new study that says early humans eat other humans for nutrition.

Cannibalism is considered taboo today although it was common practice in almost all cultures that detest it today. For example in ancient China, it was common to serve human meat cooked in different ways to the emperor and the nobles. In a book called "Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History," author Bill Schutt said it was suspected that cannibalism became taboo because the West justified conquest.

If that is not shocking enough, a study led by James Cole, an archaeologist from the University of Brighton, claims that there was little evidence that the early humans during the Paleolithic period ate human meat for survival.

To prove his point, Cole presented data how much caloric protein human flesh have compared to other meat making humans favor it during that time. He said that a 50-kilogram human male can yield 30 kilograms of edible meat with an equivalent of 4.g kilograms of protein or 18,000 calories. This is enough daily calorie source for 60 people who weigh an average of 60 kilograms each. The researchers based their calculations on the premise that a person needs 1 gram of protein for each kilo of body weight per day.

Despite this interesting observation, many scientists criticized Cole's methodology saying his research has still a lot of loopholes. First, they said he only used males in his study and never provided information how much calories women and children provide. Second, he included studies that had been conducted many years ago and which could provide inaccurate calculations.

The idea of early humans consuming human flesh for nutritional value is indeed interesting but it does not really give light to the real reason why early humans engaged in cannibalism. On the other hand, the study might be a step nearer to that.

Follows Cannibalism, early humans, Cannibals
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