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 Miki Ben-Dor
 Department of Archaeology
 Tel Aviv University, Israel
 AHS13
 August 2013
Conklin-Brittain NL, Wrangham R, Smith CC
(2002) A two-stage model of increased dietary
quality in early hominid evolution...
Smaller
Colon is 21% of a
smaller gut, ¼ of
Chimp colon, Little
B12, max. 8% of
energy
Colon is 52% of the
gut,
Source of ...
 Wrangham proposed that cooking by Homo erectus 1.8 million years
ago allowed humans to consume tubers despite their sign...
Genetic adaptation only in groups with post-
Paleolithic consumption of tubers to:
•Starch and sucrose metabolism
•Folic a...
Microbiology
Genetics
Uneven Very recent?
Archaeology
Archaeology
Grinding tools, storage structure in sites dated to a period just before agriculture
Archaeology
81% 87% 80% 89% 61% 78% 29% 68% 26%? 54%Animal foods
Caloric percentage of animal food for groups who
were systematically ...
Isotopes
Isotopes
Humans
All isotopic studies confirm that Upper Paleolithic humans
were top carnivores
Strontium and Barium analysis in human and animal
teeth from approx. 2 MYA show: “Early Homo (is)
indistinguishable from c...
Africa 1.5 MYA - “The appearance of Homo is marked by a sharp drop in
the number of large carnivores (>20 kgs) but not sma...
“there is incontrovertible evidence
of the convergence of human
behavior with carnivore behavior”
Animal Behavior
 Wolf (Canis)
 Social
 Monogamy
 2nd Widest geographic
distribution
 Endurance locomotion
 Prey size: 1000 kgs – 1
k...
“our findings highlight the emergence of
carnivory as a process fundamentally
determining human evolution.”
Weaning in hum...
Kuhn, S. L., & Stiner, M. C.
(2006). What’s a Mother to
Do? The Division of Labor
among Neandertals and
Modern Humans in
E...
Life History
Inter-disciplinary evidence supports
One Paleolithic
Highly Carnivorous Diet
Life History
Archaeology
N Isotope
Strontium
...
Carnivourus paleolithic diet   miki ben-dor ahs13
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Carnivourus paleolithic diet miki ben-dor ahs13

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Human Paleolithic diet was a Carnivorous diet. Like wolf, Homo was an omnivore but he was dependent on a highly carnivorous diet for his survival. Interdisciplinary evidence supports that hypothesis.

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Carnivourus paleolithic diet miki ben-dor ahs13

  1. 1.  Miki Ben-Dor  Department of Archaeology  Tel Aviv University, Israel  AHS13  August 2013
  2. 2. Conklin-Brittain NL, Wrangham R, Smith CC (2002) A two-stage model of increased dietary quality in early hominid evolution: The role of fiber. In: Ungar PS, Teaford MF, editors. Human diet: Its origin and evolution: Greenwood % weight (Conklin-Britten 2002) % calories (Assuming 1.5 cal. fat/1 gr fiber) Full explanation and references at http://www.paleostyle.com/?p=2001 Anatomy
  3. 3. Smaller Colon is 21% of a smaller gut, ¼ of Chimp colon, Little B12, max. 8% of energy Colon is 52% of the gut, Source of fat and B12 Milton, K. (1999). Nutritional characteristics of wild primate foods: do the diets of our closest living relatives have lessons for us? Nutrition 15:488–498 Anatomy
  4. 4.  Wrangham proposed that cooking by Homo erectus 1.8 million years ago allowed humans to consume tubers despite their significant fiber content and humans smaller colon and teeth.  However: ◦ Archaeological evidence shows habitual control of fire only begin 1.4 million years later ◦ Genes that promote significant starch metabolism appear at the earliest only 1.6 million years later. ◦ Genes to cope with tubers’ low folic acid content and detoxification of tuber glycosides appear only recently and only among agricultural populations that consume domesticated tubers. ◦ Nitrogen Isotope studies confirm low plant consumption in the late Paleolithic even though cooking was well established. ◦ Meat and fat consumption offer more parsimonious solution to the fiber problem as they are energy dense and do not have fiber so do not require cooking to be metabolized.
  5. 5. Genetic adaptation only in groups with post- Paleolithic consumption of tubers to: •Starch and sucrose metabolism •Folic acid biosynthesis •Detoxification of plant glycosides Genetics
  6. 6. Microbiology
  7. 7. Genetics Uneven Very recent?
  8. 8. Archaeology
  9. 9. Archaeology
  10. 10. Grinding tools, storage structure in sites dated to a period just before agriculture Archaeology
  11. 11. 81% 87% 80% 89% 61% 78% 29% 68% 26%? 54%Animal foods Caloric percentage of animal food for groups who were systematically studied Ethnography
  12. 12. Isotopes
  13. 13. Isotopes Humans All isotopic studies confirm that Upper Paleolithic humans were top carnivores
  14. 14. Strontium and Barium analysis in human and animal teeth from approx. 2 MYA show: “Early Homo (is) indistinguishable from carnivores” (Nature 2012) Strontium
  15. 15. Africa 1.5 MYA - “The appearance of Homo is marked by a sharp drop in the number of large carnivores (>20 kgs) but not small carnivores” Italy 0.5 MYA – Homo appear. Large carnivores drop despite increase in large herbivores. Werdelin L, Lewis ME (2013) Temporal Change in Functional Richness and Evenness in the Eastern African Plio-Pleistocene Carnivoran Guild. PLoS ONE 8(3): e57944. Large Carnivores Small Carnivores Homo erectus Paleontology Signs of competition between early humans and large carnivores
  16. 16. “there is incontrovertible evidence of the convergence of human behavior with carnivore behavior” Animal Behavior
  17. 17.  Wolf (Canis)  Social  Monogamy  2nd Widest geographic distribution  Endurance locomotion  Prey size: 1000 kgs – 1 kg  Preying on young and old  Homo  Social  Monogamy  Widest geographic distribution  Endurance locomotion  Prey size: 6000 kgs - 1 kg  Preying on adults Animal Behavior Joint venture?
  18. 18. “our findings highlight the emergence of carnivory as a process fundamentally determining human evolution.” Weaning in humans 2-3 yearWeaning in Chimps 4-5 years Life History
  19. 19. Kuhn, S. L., & Stiner, M. C. (2006). What’s a Mother to Do? The Division of Labor among Neandertals and Modern Humans in Eurasia. Current Anthropology, 47(6), 953-981 Ethnography
  20. 20. Life History
  21. 21. Inter-disciplinary evidence supports One Paleolithic Highly Carnivorous Diet Life History Archaeology N Isotope Strontium Anatomy Genetics Animal Behavior Ethnography Paleontology Bacteriology

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