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Posts tagged cannibalism

American ‘Cannibal Apocalypse’?

Benjamin Radford looks at the history and phenomena of cannibalism.

Cannibalism has occasionally been practiced by murderers; serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer infamously killed and ate parts of several victims during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and in 1994 an Ohio man named Henry Heepe killed his mother, dismembered her, and cooked some of her body parts. Heepe said he killed his mother because he believed she was a “vampire devil.”

Perhaps the strangest case was that in 2006 of German Armin Meiwes, who solicited for — and found — a willing victim to cannibalize. Meiwes posted an online ad “looking for a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed.” A man named Bernd Jürgen Brandes volunteered, and Meiwes ate Brandes over the course of the next ten months. Despite his victim’s participation Meiwes was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

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How humans outpaced their relatives remains a mystery, but fossil evidence has left some clues about the scenarios that may have led to the downfall of Neanderthals.
No single smoking gun is likely responsible. But here, we explore some of the factors that contributed to their decline. (Cannibalism may have had something to do with it.)