The origin of the word cannibal must be understood in the context of the Discovery of America. The Spaniards who arrived on the American coasts were surprised to find that some indigenous peoples had the habit of feeding on human flesh, obtained after some sacred rituals of which victims were offered to the gods. Cannibalism
Cannibalism is, therefore, the act by which a living being eats the flesh of another individual of the same species . This practice is applied to both animals and humans.
in the animal world
In the animal kingdom, cannibalism presents itself in all kinds of species
The female religious mantis eats the male after mating. The Komodo dragon eats sick members of its species. Hamsters sometimes feed on their own offspring and so do spiders, seals, crocodiles and scorpions. In all cases, it is a survival strategy. Some species practice cannibalism due to lack of food; this is also happening lately with polar bears as a consequence of climate change.
Cannibalism is linked to murder, so it is a custom contrary to the legal, moral and religious codes of all civilizations
Exceptionally, it occurred in some American cultures during the pre-Columbian period , in West Africa and in Papua New Guinea. As a general rule, cannibalism is along with incest one of the most entrenched taboos among humans.
There is no single standard to explain this type of behavior . It can manifest itself in funerary rituals, as is the case with the Yanomami of the Amazon. In most cases, it occurs because of offerings of human sacrifices accompanied by the ingestion of human flesh, evident in the chronicles of the Spanish colonizers in relation to the Mayan or Aztec culture .
There were also cases of cannibalism in situations of extreme need . One of the most famous episodes is known as the “Miracle of the Andes” in 1972, when a plane crashed in the Andes mountain range and the survivors had to eat human flesh from the victims to survive.