Large carnivore attacks on hominins during the Pleistocene: a forensic approach with a Neanderthal example
Interaction between hominins and carnivores has been common and constant through human evolution and generated mutual pressures similar to those present in worldwide modern human-carnivore conflicts. This current interaction is sometimes violent and can be reflected in permanent skeletal pathologies and other bone modifications. In the present paper, we carry out a survey of 124 forensic cases of dangerous human-carnivore encounters. The objective is to infer direct hominin-carnivore confrontation during the Pleistocene, which is important to understand behavioral changes during human evolution. In addition, the case of Neanderthals is analyzed in order to find evidence of past attacks using forensic observations. The results obtained pose that Neanderthals could potentially have been involved in dangerous encounters during the Pleistocene, validating our methodology to approach past attacks from a forensic perspective.