Some 15,000 years ago, ancient Europeans engaged in cannibalism as part of their funerary customs.
The recent findings by London’s National History Museum indicate that this practice was not driven by necessity.
They studied the prevalence of this practice in the Magdalenian community that lived between 11,000 and 17,000 years ago during the late Upper Paleolithic era.
“Instead of burying their dead, these people were eating them. We interpret the evidence that cannibalism was practiced on multiple occasions across northwestern Europe over a short period of time, as this practice was part of diffuse funerary behavior among Magdalenian groups. That in itself is interesting because it is the oldest evidence of cannibalism as a funerary practice,” said Silvia Bello, an expert on the evolution of human behavior at the museum, in an official release.