Neanderthals Were Some Tough: They Ate Lion Meat

More fossils, cave lions that shows traces of primitive stone knives were found in a paleontological site in Spain. The discovery raises new controversy among scientists who wonder if Neanderthals indeed hunted cave lions, and feed on newly discovered corpses of giant carnivores…..

Traces of cuts and scratches on the bones of lions are similar to those found in fossils of deer, wild horses, bison and other animals that fell prey, frequently, the Neanderthal people. The study revealed the cuts that were made while the lions were already dead, which suggests that the beasts have been hunted by cavemen. They belonged to a subspecies of Neanderthal called Homo heildelbergensis, or Heidelberg man, in everyday language.

Previous studies suggest that people were the first hominids Heidelberg Europeans are used to hunt long wooden spears with fire hardened tip, and the rocks and stones.

Spanish team of paleontologists has discovered a total of 17 fossils, cave lions, now extinct, but was bigger and stronger today  lions live in Africa and Asia. Lions fossils were buried in the Gran Dolina site, a location which also houses other animals and fossils of hominids about 350,000 years old.

Traces of cuts shows that primitive people were skinned, gutted and chopped lions in the first phase, after they have broken bones in search of marrow, which is considered very nutritious. It is possible that lions have been considered sacred animals and their hunting to be the ultimate test of manhood and courage, thereby transforming the entire act into a ritual. “The same is happening today with the Masai in Africa hunting, hunting lions in a variety of purposes,” says Dr. Ruth Blasco, from the Rovira i Virgili University of Catalonia.

Zoo archaeologist Mary Stiner of the University of Arizona, has a different opinion insisting that primitive humans hunted large carnivores in a small way, or that lions have been killed in situations of limited self-defense from the people.

Anthropologist Daniel Adler, University of Connecticut, has an opinion and clearer: “There is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that Homo hunted heidelberigensis lei. Even if Gran Dolina hominids killed lei, there was no other evidence in the entire Eurasian to support this hypothesis. In addition, Spanish paleontologists said the fossils lei
were encountered very little compared with other animals, suggesting that cavemen always preferred less dangerous prey. Simply, an adult lion was a formidable opponent for some men armed with wooden spears and stones. Not even the promise of large amounts of meat or gained prestige in the community, not made by hunters to risk it. It is more likely that lions have died of natural causes, illness, old age or were too old to be defended by the people, “he insisted.

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6 Responses to “Neanderthals Were Some Tough: They Ate Lion Meat”
  1. mimmer30 Says...

    On September 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

    How interesting thanks so much for this piece. Clearly they had to hunt something and it does seem a strong possibility that they would have had to go after things like this. They could not exactly nip to Tescps could they.

  2. Jswana Says...

    On October 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I saw a show on PBS of the group of human-like beings even before the Neanderthals and like them, they had tools, some even surgical! It’s amazing. I enjoyed reading about those tough characters. Thanks for sharing.

  3. lovelights Says...

    On October 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Wow, very interesting article you have here. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Akiong Says...

    On October 13, 2010 at 2:23 pm


  5. observer1 Says...

    On August 10, 2011 at 8:55 am

    great article, thanks for the information

  6. 1Arjun Says...

    On August 15, 2011 at 6:56 am

    These peolpe must have been really Tough..

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