A few months ago in a post about the ilium and cannibals, I relayed a quote by Dr. Raymond Dart who was the first to recognize (and name) the hominid genus Australopithecus, back in 1925. I’d also mentioned that he was described [in a reference that escapes me] as “blood-thirsty.” This macabre descriptor came to mind again, as I’m reading his (1948) description of the MLD 2 mandible, of a juvenile A. africanus from Makapansgat cave in South Africa (figure is from the paper):
“[Individuals represented by MLD2 and another skull fragment] met their death by manually applied violence. The fractures exhibited by the mandible show that the violence, which probably occurred in fatal combat, was a localized crushing impact received by the face slightly to the left of the midline in the incisor region, and administered presumably by a bludgeon… this youth probably met his fate at the hands of a kinsman more expert than himself in the accurate application of directed implements” (p. 393-394)
2 thoughts on “Bloodsport in Australopithecus africanus?”
Cannibalistic Australopithecines who try to club their own children to death?This definately deserves a place in one of those crappy Documentaries about human evolution.
Ha, agreed! And there'd have to be reenactments of what the fights were like, and a dramatization of the blow that felled the poor ape-man.