Human Ecology

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 1–12

Does New Guinea cannibalism have nutritional value?

  • Mark D. Dornstreich
  • George E. B. Morren

DOI: 10.1007/BF01507342

Cite this article as:
Dornstreich, M.D. & Morren, G.E.B. Hum Ecol (1974) 2: 1. doi:10.1007/BF01507342


This paper examines the question of the nutritional value of cannibalism. Although other authors have concluded that the practice does not have such value, we argue that this cannot properly be determined except in the context of the total subsistence economy and local human ecology. The paper also presents a format for the empirical investigation of foodgetting and new ethnographic information about New Guinea cannibalism. Our major conclusion is that this practice does have nutritional value for certain human groups, specifically tropical peoples living at lowmedium population densities and exploiting a diverse range of animal foods.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Dornstreich
    • 1
  • George E. B. Morren
    • 2
  1. 1.Livingston CollegeRutgers UniversityNew Brunswick
  2. 2.S.U.N.Y. at BinghamtonBinghamton