Werewolves, traditionally, are human beings that transform into wolves or, more popularly today, wolf-like but still partially human hybrid creatures, and eat often people, or attempt to do so. Anthropophagy, or cannibalism, is the practice whereby a human eats the flesh of another human. For this reason, any time cannibalism appears in a headline it’s going to catch my attention, and as often as not I will report it on this site. One could say, all werewolves are cannibals, but not all cannibals are werewolves, at least not werewolves in the folkloric and cinematic sense, sprouting fur and fangs to go along with their fiendish appetites.
As it turns out, if you’re a cannibal, human flesh isn’t particularly good for you. We do know from natives living in Papua New Guinea and other places, who used to practice cannibalism not too long ago, that the eating of other humans can lead to debilitating and ultimately fatal illnesses caused by “proteinaceous infectious particles,” or prions (Mad Cow Disease is the most common example). Add to that the results of this new study, which state that human meat isn’t really worth the effort, given the low calorie count it provides, and it’s a wonder cannibalism was ever practiced at all—and it WAS practiced. If not common, it was at least not UNcommon. Why? Was the cannibalism ritualistic, or did the eaters of the dead just supplement their diets with human from time to time? Were some of our ancestors just a snack for the others?