‘I was interested in how nutritious are we actually,’ Dr James Cole from the University of Brighton explained to the New York Times.
Understandably his question has raised some eyebrows.
‘Whenever I talk about the topic, I always get a slight sort of side view from my colleagues.’
Dr Cole’s mission is to discover whether it was ever nutritionally beneficial to eat another human over hunting animals available at the time.
He hopes to get insight into whether cannibalistic societies killed and ate each other for purely diet reasons, or whether there were other cultural or spiritual reasons for the practice.
He has gone ahead and created a guide to the calorie value of each part of the human body and it’s very weird to read.
The thigh is the most calorie-dense muscle in the body, at 13,350, while the upper arm comes in at 7,450 calories. Forearms are a modest 1,660 calories and calves around 4,490. Organs came in the least calorie-dense with kidneys around 380 calories and the heart around 650 calories.
What Dr Cole found was that humans didn’t provide a better source of food than what was around at the time. Compared to hunted animals like mammoth and bison, humans offered little nutritional value.
This leads him to believe cannibalism in these communities had a reason other than just filling bellies.
When asked whether he’d ever be able to throw a dinner party again after publishing the study Dr Cole said yes - but that it would likely be completely vegetarian.