The prehistoric men of Madrid ate elephants

The prehistoric men of Madrid ate elephants

A I study Spanish reveals that the human beings that inhabited the borders of the Manzanares river in Madrid (Spain) in the Middle Paleolithic (between 127,000 and 40,000 years ago) they fed on meat and bone marrow of pachyderms. The investigation presents strong evidence of cuts and bruises on elephant bones found in the Preresa deposit (Madrid).

According to the new information, the humans that populated the Madrid region 84,000 years ago, they fed on the meat of these large mammals and consumed their spinal cord. Until now, the scientific community doubted that the consumption of elephant meat was a common practice in that period, due to the lack of evidence on the bones.

Researchers have found bones with cut marks that were made to consume the meat and beat to obtain the spinal cord. "There are many sites but few with fossil remains with marks that show that there were human purposes”, Comments the researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid, José Yravedra.

This is the first time that hit marks show a intentional bone fracture. This would have been produced in order to access the marrow. The researchers attributed them to obtaining tools, but have discarded it, since all the utensils in that same area were made of flint and quartz.

Another study by Yravedra concludes that the cut marks on the fossil remains are added to “the oldest evidence of the use of elephants”At the Áridos field (near the Jarama river). "There are some records of the exploitation of elephants in Siberia, North America and Central Europe”, The researchers explain.

In prehistoric timesHunting animals was risky and required a considerable amount of energy. So when the people of the Middle Palaeolithic they had an elephant to feed on, they took advantage of it as much as they could.

Internal organs were the first thing predators ate, whether they were humans or some other kind of carnivore. Researchers are trying to determine whether humans were hunters or scavengers, as it is unclear how they could have ended up with such large animals.
José Yravedra maintains that it is the "next mystery" that must be solved.

Further, remember that there are signs of hunting in other smaller animals at the same site. In the case of elephantsIt is more difficult to establish whether humans used their meat, mainly due to the thickness of the fibrous membranes and layers of skin. As much as our ancestors hunted them, it was difficult for their weapons to penetrate to the bone.

Animal fat was highly valued by hunters and gatherers who had a diet rich in meat and low in carbohydrates. When there was little meat, other resources such as bone marrow became a good source of lipids.

According to the study, this practice was not very common due to the difficulty of extracting the marrow from the bones. Furthermore, the use of fat was unknown until today. They had other sources of food such as the brain, which had the same nutritional benefits.

The team in charge of the excavation and investigation is made up of archaeologists, zoo archaeologists and geologists from the Complutense University of Madrid, the Institute of Evolution in Africa (Madrid) and the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (Burgos). In total, they have collected 82 bones from an elephant, related to 754 stone tools from an area of ​​255 square meters at the Preresa site.

Source: Fecyt

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved History and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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