Cannibalism: the proof? Spigolature Scientifiche interview Fernando Ramirez Rozzi (Paris's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Neanderthalian rests have been found among bones of animals which Homo sapiens might had been eating. Does this fact definitely prove the existence of episodes of cannibalism among modern humans?
Cannibalism in Homo sapiens was attested at many times in prehistoric and historic times; in this case a neanderthal mandible shows cut-marks similar and at the same anatomical position than the marks observed in reindeers mandibles. It is an evidence than human bones were manipulated similarly than those of fauna eating by Homo sapiens. Of course, one can say that probably the cut-marks are related to some funerary process. We don't know how were the funerary process during the Aurignacian and for this reason we cannot be 100% confident about cannibalism, BUT funerary process in the following cultural tradition to Aurignacian, the Gravetiense, are very well known, during this period bodies were burried and the treatment to death was completally different to fauna. Therefore, we cannot be 100% confident about cannibalism in Les Rois but we are not far.

Is the theory that states that neanderthalians would have become extinct by interbreeding with Sapiens completely to reject?
I think so but no from my results, but from genetic results. The basic question is, what do you expect to find to suggest Neandertals and Homo sapiens have interbreded? The answer is that some genetic aspects (nuclear or mythocondrial) of neandertals has passed to early representatives of Homo sapiens in Europe (Cro-Magnon). All studies in genetics suggest that the genetic (nuclear and mt) in neandertals is completely different to Cro-Magnon and there is no evidence of any minimal nucleotidic chain of neandertals present in Cro-magnon. Probably you don't accept this explanation, so I come back to my question, what kind of evidence do you expect to find to suggest interbreeding?

Are excavations still going on in Les Rois?
We made excavations during the last 4 years. The excavation was definitively closed last August.


What is your opinion about Homo floresiensis? Do you think that it constitutes a species itself or that is it a microcephalus?
I never saw the original material so I know only from what I have read certainly like you. In my opinion (but I never saw the fossils) it seems to me it is a new species, but any other colleague who has worked on these fossils is more capacited to talk about it than me.
(Ha collaborato Alessandra Nigro)

About Fernando Ramirez Rozzi:
http://www.eva.mpg.de/evolution/associat/ramirez/cv.htm

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