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The short answer is that they found the need to eat to survive. They were starving to death.

Having left too late in the season to travel west, and having encountered blizzards as they attempted to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains, they became trapped in Fremont Pass (no called Donner Pass). As their food supply dwindled, and their last remaining oxen and horse died and were consumed, no food remained, so the surviving party members began to consume parts of those who had died earlier due to sickness and injury.

There were actually numerous reports of parties who resorted to cannibalism as they crossed the oceans and continents. The story of the Donner party remains one of the most well known due to early books that were written, and the sad comedy of errors that led up to the Horror the members of the Donner party experienced.

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โˆ™ 2011-03-09 12:55:14
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Q: Why did the Donner party find the need to eat each other?
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Related Questions

Where can one find details of the Donner Party?

You can find details about the Donner Party on the Wikipedia page devoted to it. You can also receive an introductory lesson about the Donner Party provided on the PBS website.

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