The world is something so big and so extensive that for the vast majority of people it is impossible to know it completely . Within this immensity that encompasses planet earth there are dark customs that to human perception are something inconceivable and unpleasant . Some things like this are human trafficking and cannibalism .

What is cannibalism?

When it comes to anthropophagy , the definition given by the Royal Spanish Academy as the consumption of human flesh and any other tissue that comes from it by humans , it should be noted that this does not directly include human sacrifice. The term that was given to people who consumed human flesh was cannibals and was used for the first time by the Spanish when they referred to the anthropophagic practices and customs that the Indians of the Caribbean followed. This in turn was the same application of the word that refers to this term descended from its original words.

  • What is cannibalism?
  • Etymology
  • Characteristics of anthropophagy
  • Human anthropophagy
  • How it differs from cannibalism
  • Examples of cannibalistic species

What is cannibalism?

The Cannibalism is a practice of human intake which has lasted even today within diverse cultures of Africa , Central and Western, in Melanesia, New Guinea, Australia , New Zealand, in some Polynesian islands, Sumatra and in various tribes in the American continent that seek to maintain their original cultures.

There are special cases such as those of the Maori and Melanesian tribes which see human meat as an animal type food which is not obtained from hunting but from combat with other tribes in the area, so they also justify it as a Adrenaline-charged victory piece of combat.


The term anthropophagy originates from the Greek language through a series of derivations, “ ἀνθρωποφαγία ” is its direct translation but this in turn is derived from two different terms ἄνθρωπος-ου which translates as man and φαγία , which translates as the act of eating .

This originates in the Greek language since within its mythology one of its gods called Cronos began to eat his children because there is a prophecy in which one of them would end up dethroning him and therefore decided to eat them one by one.

Characteristics of anthropophagy

Among its main characteristics are:

  • In human society, the ingestion of human flesh (as is to be expected) is something totally repudiated or rejected and is even considered an act of madness on the part of the person who commits it.
  • Due to the case of the survivors of the Andes , a certain uncertainty began within this practice but focused directly on human survival due to a situation of extreme need .
  • In 2018 in a very remote town in China , a supermarket began selling human meat from a recently deceased person , which was sold by his heirs who were in dire need.
  • For many, one of the best works of cinema “the silence of the innocents” or “Hannibal Lecter” awakens endless feelings in the public, from the most morbid and atrocious to repulsion or disgust .
  • There are certain organizations that seek to protect the tribes that maintain these practices because they are considered a ” heritage of humanity .”

Human anthropophagy

Human cannibalism is a very well-marked crime within society as it directly affects its integrity . Throughout history, there have been men beyond novels like the homonymous Thomas Harris, as is the case of the comegente de los Andes, in Venezuela , who is still incarcerated in a penitentiary center .

However, the tribes that maintain these practices among themselves (most of them are protected by world organizations so the laws do not affect them in a certain way) usually do it as rituals , for example in the Amazon tribes they ingest certain organs to “ obtain the benefits ”of that organ towards yours.

For their part, the tribes of South America and Australia, for example, consume it more in a spiritual sense , while the Americans do it with a totemic sense, the Australians do it as a sign of respect and transmission of intellect to the next generations .

How it differs from cannibalism

According to technical terms, the only difference that exists between anthropophagy and cannibalism is that while one only occurs within human society, the other applies within the different species that inhabit planet earth . Similarly, the term cannibalism is also often used to refer to cannibalism, so it does not represent a major difference.

Some of the animals that exercise cannibalism are the spiders that consume the males and the octopuses that usually swallow each other when there is a crisis to acquire food .

Examples of cannibalistic species

In 2017 in Russia , thanks to the investigations of the police of that country, a young couple was discovered who had kidnapped , murdered and consumed human flesh since 2007 . During the search of the house where these people resided, they found from body parts such as heads , torsos and legs to nails and hair .

When digital equipment such as computers and mobile phones were searched, videos were found of the young couple kidnapping , torturing and dismantling their victims. The woman was found after a few days before the trial with large torture marks hanging upside down in a forest while the man was found in the same way with torture marks among the remains , because he was thrown into the same forest and eaten by scavengers .

Currently the case is no longer being investigated because it was discovered that the couple managed to escape from the police station where they were being held, and the security cameras captured how they escaped in a vehicle without markings , and the option of an action by the police was always ruled out. police within it.

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