Cannibals, head hunters, and primitive tribes with sharpened sticks have haunted our horror movies for decades, and genuine cannibalism has existed throughout human history. But as it turns out, people just aren’t that nutritious. A bizarre new study published in Scientific Reports by the researcher James Cole of the University of Brighton finds that other animals — particularly those that were available to humans during the Paleolithic era — are more calorie- and protein-dense than human meat.
“When you compare us to other animals, we’re not very nutritional at all,” Cole said.
A single adult male is about 143,000 calories, or 32,000 calories if you only eat skeletal muscle and skip out on organ meats. A horse carcass would last about six times as long, and boars and beavers — relatively small in comparison to humans — contain three times as many calories per pound. Plus, it’s a lot more difficult to hunt someone who can conceivably fight back with the same physical and cognitive skills.
"If you're hunting your own species, it's the same size as you and can think just as well as you and can fight back just as well as you can," he told NPR.
So why eat humans at all if they are not calorically sufficient or worth the catch? We shudder to think.