Staunch followers of the paleo diet who insist on eating exactly as our cavemen ancestors did might want to rethink their diet choices. A new study from researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany found that Neanderthals had a predilection for a rather extreme form of protein — human meat and bones.
The study, which was published in Scientific Reports earlier this month, found that "cannibalism dates back as far as 45,000 years ago," the New York Post reported. Researchers analyzed remains found in France and the Iberian Peninsula, finding that the bones had cut marks and appeared to be intentionally crushed in order to reach the marrow. "These indications allow us to assume that the Neanderthals practiced cannibalism," Hervé Bocherens, the lead researcher, said in a statement.
In this case, current paleo enthusiasts may want to loosen their strictness when it comes to the diet and consider sticking to grass-fed meats (and not humans). Beyond being gruesome and stomach-churning, cannibalism really isn't healthy. The act can even be deadly, according to Science Line.
"Prion diseases, a group of uncommon and deadly brain diseases, can be spread by eating the contaminated flesh of humans or other animals," Science Line reported. "The human brain is more contaminated with prions than other body parts, though bone marrow, the spinal cord and the small intestine also contain these fatal brain-eating malformations. [...] Current examples include kuru and Creutzfeld-Jacob disease in humans, and mad cow disease in animals, both of which cause brain deterioration, loss of motor control and ultimately death."
Yeah... and even when skipping the whole cannibalism thing, paleo people might want to consider revamping their diet altogether. Newly unearthed evidence found that was actually the paleo diet that killed off Neanderthals in the first place.
While modern day paleo followers only really have to worry about the grocery store running out of their favorite coconut oil, a separate study published in June revealed that those who subsist on a purely Paleo diet can be deficient in many nutrients found in carbohydrates and dairy products.