This is taken from an article by Robin McKie in the Guardian newspaper:
One of science's most puzzling mysteries - the disappearance of the Neanderthals - may have been solved. Modern humans ate them, says a leading fossil expert.Science keeps deposing humans from their lofty view of themselves. We used to be God's special creation. We used to occupy the centre of the universe. And now we like to think of ourselves as the guardians of nature and lovers of diversity, but in fact we killed and ate our closest cousins. Sad fact.
The controversial suggestion follows publication of a study in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences about a Neanderthal jawbone apparently butchered by modern humans. Now the leader of the research team says he believes the flesh had been eaten by humans, while its teeth may have been used to make a necklace.
Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la Récherche Scientifique, said the jawbone had probably been cut into to remove flesh, including the tongue. Crucially, the butchery was similar to that used by humans to cut up deer carcass in the early Stone Age. "Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands and in some cases we ate them," Rozzi said.
The idea will provoke considerable opposition from scientists who believe Neanderthals disappeared for reasons that did not involve violence. Neanderthals were a sturdy species who evolved in Europe 300,000 years ago, made complex stone tools and survived several ice ages before they disappeared 30,000 years ago - just as modern human beings arrived in Europe from Africa.
Rozzi believes the jawbone provides crucial evidence that humans attacked Neanderthals, and sometimes killed them, bringing back their bodies to caves to eat or to use their skulls or teeth as trophies. "For years, people have tried to hide away from the evidence of cannibalism, but I think we have to accept it took place," he added.