Researchers have discovered an ancient massacre site, in Northern Spain, where a group of Neanderthals slaughtered and ate a dozen of their fellow early humans. Modern-day forensic techniques were employed to reconstruct the happenings.
    
DNA samples and other evidence suggested that the victims were all members of the same family and included children as young as two.
    
"They appear to have been killed and eaten, with their bones and skulls split open to extract the marrow, tongue and brains," the Sunday Times quoted Carles Lalueza-Fox of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, as saying.
    
"The victims included three female and three male adults, three boys aged 12-15 and three children aged from two to nine years. All had been butchered. It must have been a big feast," said Lalueza-Fox.
    
Scientists discovered the Neanderthal bones first in 1994 inside a cave system called El Sidron in northern Spain, while full excavation started in the year 2000.
    
The remains were all buried in a room-sized gallery about 700 feet from the entrance of the cave. They were mixed up with gravel and mud apparently washed into the chamber from above.
    
Neanderthals lived in Europe from about 240,000 to 30,000 years ago, so most sites have a mixture of remains covering many millennia. The research was presented at the Royal Society in London.

(Agencies)

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