Many Americans believe that cannibalism existed in Africa in the not-too-distant past. Nineteenth-century explorers, especially those in Central Africa, were certain that cannibalism existed, and many reported having witnessed it. Most references to African cannibalism in our own time occur in humor. The Internet, for example, contains many cannibal joke sites. A cannibal joke is more likely to be obscene than to be about Africa. Accusations of cannibalism, the eating or cooking of humans, were often made against North and sub-Saharan Africans, especially early in the European encounters with Africans. For Africans, traditionally, to call someone a cannibal was not to mark them as an extreme "other" but to emphasize behavior that was dangerous and threatening to the well-being of the community. A number of modern studies assert that cannibalism was prevalent in precolonial Africa, especially Central Africa. Africans themselves often added to Western suspicions by using metaphors of cannibalism.