Meat eaters had a jump start

2012-08-08 23:01

Johannesburg - A more varied diet, including the consumption of meat, may have led to the development of brain capacity in human ancestors in South Africa, according to a report published on Wednesday.

The research shed light on the diet of early hominims belonging to three different genera, Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Homo (human beings).

The scientists found that Australopithecus had a more varied diet than both early human beings and Paranthropus.

Scientists conducted an analysis of fossil teeth found in areas such as Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdraai in the Cradle of Humankind before publishing their findings in the journal Nature, the University of Witwatersrand said in a statement.

Among the scientists who co-published the research was Wits Institute of for Human Evolution director Prof Francis Thackeray.

Thackeray believes the results of the study show that Paranthropus had a diet that was primarily plant-based while early humans ate more meat.

"Thackeray states that the greater consumption of meat in the diet of early forms of Homo could have contributed to the increase in brain size in this genus," read the statement.

Australopithecus was also omnivorous, eating both meat and the leaves and fruits of woody plants.

This diet may have varied seasonally.

The study found that the territory used by each of the three hominims was about the same size.

  • chris.summers.3954 - 2012-08-09 01:19

    So in actual fact, vegetarians, vegans, hippies, environmentalists and people who watch Whale Wars and actually support those eco-terrorists on the Sea Shepherd are holding back our species. I am glad that's settled then, No eat meat = Untermensch.

      jacob.ndlovu.3 - 2012-08-09 05:02

      ahhh Chris you must be one of those ignorant moron clutchplates! By the way, im not a vegetarian, but only eat meat in moderation like we used to not like today where it's consumed on a dailty basis because of our cheap unsustainable factory farming methods.. Learn to respect people's choices be it vegetarian, vegan, etc and stop being a ignorant muppet!

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-08-09 10:42

      @ jacob A sense of humour would help ! Or is that also destroyed by carrots and lentils !

  • paul.anthony.dawson - 2012-08-09 03:33

    Meat contains proteins which are the building blocks of life, so I suppose the theory of thought is that this increase in protein contributed towards an increased brain mass. Who knows then? Maybe T-rex was capable of algebra and the velociraptor was a genius at calculus??? We all know vegetarians are a bit stupid. ;-) Soy anybody?

      jacob.ndlovu.3 - 2012-08-09 05:05

      another ignorant cluthplate who wasnt taught to respect people's choices. What a dooosh!

      art5SA - 2012-08-09 07:05


      jae.type - 2012-08-09 08:46

      YES! @arse t5SA

      bones.meintjies - 2012-08-09 08:55

      Hahahaha! Jacob has learned a new word - "clutchplate". However, I usually think of a vehicle when I hear this word.

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-09 11:39

      Jacob the ignorant DOSSH is you. NO where does it say you cant have an opinion about someone elses opnion. You have the choice of living a certain life style and he has the right t9o 3say its stuupid.. Its called a deomcracy. Get used to it

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-09 11:43

      Yes art5SA it would be a bit cruel if we kept living cows, sheep and chickens in our fridge

      flyswat - 2012-08-10 00:49

      Argh, so annoying when that big, juicy, extra fatty piece of biltong lands on the floor and the dog snatches it before you can pick it up and dust it off.

  • lala.kunene - 2012-08-09 03:41

    Thank God Im a vegetarian

      daniel.v.wyk - 2012-08-09 07:44

      I'm also glad! More meat for me ;)

  • John - 2012-08-09 04:00

    Read the China Study. Very enlightening! Eat animal protein feed cancer. Eat vegetable protein do NOT feed cancer!

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-08-09 07:56

      John, studies in China are produced ad hoc according to what the prevailing situation is. When meat supply is up, I'm sure there will be a study telling the world of its benefits...

      Mandy Casey - 2012-08-09 08:40

      Did you take your Lino horn tablets this morning?

      errantnite.errantnite - 2012-08-09 10:52

      Read how scientifically bad the China Study is:

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-09 11:44

      LOL mandy

  • John - 2012-08-09 04:11

    3.3 Gigs of data on the man's DNA strand. Three percent used to replicate the body of man with all our races and sizes. What is the rest for? DNA determines BRAIN size. What switches on the series of codons that determine brain size. More importantly what has brain size to do with intelligence? Einstein,s and Hawking's brain are the same size as mine but they are and were a damned sight more intelligent than I am!

  • John - 2012-08-09 04:21

    Intelligence is the ABILITY to 1.Postulate a problem. 2. Perceive a problem. 3.Pose a problem. 4.Resolve a problem.

  • John - 2012-08-09 04:21

    Intelligence is the ABILITY to 1.Postulate a problem. 2. Perceive a problem. 3.Pose a problem. 4.Resolve a problem.

      Mark - 2012-08-09 08:36

      Intelligence is to just post your comment once. ;)

  • Ina - 2012-08-09 13:40

    I wonder if that is why one finds so many lions, tigers, leopards, cats and dogs at varsity? LOL!

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