the diet It plays an important role in every animal’s daily life, not just for itself survival and reproduction, but can also adapt habitat preferences, movement patterns and energy dedicated to activity, competition, predation risk, social interactions and communication, among others.
in case if Humans If we go back to our ancestors, food was an essential function in terms of habitats, migrations and interactions with the environment and its organisms.
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“Once the first humans started eating meat, it is possible that they ventured into environments where the animals died naturally for their collection and would have often encountered other predators, which could cause more competition and risk of predation,” explains Briana L. Pobiner, researcher, for SINC in the Department of Anthropology at Smithsonian Institution, USA.
Thus, the broiler diet can also have a significant impact on the development of human behavior and anatomical features. Lacking sharp teeth like predators to tear through meat and reach the prey’s marrow, humans began to use stone-making through stone tools.
In fact, the appearance standing man, about two million years ago, seemed to have been the turning point in the evolution of the human diet: increased consumption of animals may have led to an increase in brain and body size and a reorganization of the gut. These features have been preserved in sane man.
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However, a new international study, published in the journal PNAS, now refutes this hypothesis that “meat made us human” and calls into question the priority of eating meat at the beginning of human evolution. To date, studies supporting the importance of animal consumption have been based on the increase in paleoanthropological evidence with the advent of H. erectus.
Biased analysis of fossils
But for large-scale dietary change to lead to the acquisition of key traits in this hominin species, it must remain consistent in the zoological record over time. This can only be convincingly demonstrated by a large-scale analysis that goes beyond a single site or site.
“Most studies of butchery-marked fossil bones are limited to examining evidence from a single deposit, or even from a single layer of sediment,” Bubiner, co-author of the study, tells SINC.
To take a broader look at the first evidence of our consumption of meat, the team compiled all published evidence on these remains from nine major research areas in East Africa, including 59 site levels, dating from .6 million to 1.2 million years ago.
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“We compared the patterns of butchery marks fossil bones to the amount of fossil evidence overall, to see if this was really a sign of increased meat intake, or if just digging up more fossils makes it more likely to be found with butchers marks. It turned out to be the latter,” the expert confirms. .
The researchers found that when accounting for the variance in sampling effort over time, there was no steady increase in the relative amount of meat consumption experiences after the onset of
The results suggest, therefore, that the findings regarding the carnivorous diet would be a reflection of extensive sampling, rather than changes in human behavior as such. The study thus undermines the idea that “a high intake of meat led to the evolutionary changes of our early ancestors,” asserts W. Andrew Barr, associate professor of anthropology at George Washington University in the USA, and lead author of the study.
Meat consumption then and now
Despite this, meat consumption has played an important role in our evolutionary history. “We have evidence that some early human species, such as Neanderthals, ate large amounts of meat,” Bubiner says.
Currently, the researcher – who has been excavating and studying the fossils that marked the cut for 20 years – asserts that “culture (and economy) is the main driver of variation in the amount of meat consumed by people in different societies.”
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“I think this study and its findings are of interest not only to the paleoanthropological community, but to everyone who currently bases their dietary decisions on a particular version of this meat-eating story,” Barr says.
According to the researchers, large data sets are essential to understanding the broad patterns of our evolutionary history. “We need more fossil samples from unsampled time periods, such as 2 million years ago, in order to test the importance of eating meat during those earlier time periods,” Bubiner concludes.
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