Vegetarian Discussion: Meat-eating Was Essential For Human Evolution

Meat-eating Was Essential For Human Evolution
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Rudy Canoza
2008-01-23 16:35:02 EST
BERKELEY-- Human ancestors who roamed the dry and open
savannas of Africa about 2 million years ago routinely
began to include meat in their diets to compensate for
a serious decline in the quality of plant foods,
according to a physical anthropologist at the
University of California, Berkeley.

It was this new meat diet, full of densely-packed
nutrients, that provided the catalyst for human
evolution, particularly the growth of the brain, said
Katharine Milton, an authority on primate diet.

Without meat, said Milton, it's unlikely that proto
humans could have secured enough energy and nutrition
from the plants available in their African environment
at that time to evolve into the active, sociable,
intelligent creatures they became. Receding forests
would have deprived them of the more nutritious leaves
and fruits that forest-dwelling primates survive on,
said Milton.

Her thesis complements the discovery last month by UC
Berkeley professor Tim White and others that early
human species were butchering and eating animal meat as
long ago as 2.5 million years. Milton's article
integrates dietary strategy with the evolution of human
physiology to argue that meat eating was routine. It is
published this month in the journal "Evolutionary
Anthropology" (Vol.8, #1).

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/6-14-1999a.html

Pearl
2008-01-23 17:03:41 EST
"Rudy Canoza" <pipes@thedismalscience.net> wrote in message news:13pfcvid492r4fe@corp.supernews.com...
> BERKELEY-- Human ancestors who roamed the dry and open
> savannas of Africa about 2 million years ago routinely
> began to include meat in their diets to compensate for
> a serious decline in the quality of plant foods,
> according to a physical anthropologist at the
> University of California, Berkeley.
>
> It was this new meat diet, full of densely-packed
> nutrients, that provided the catalyst for human
> evolution, particularly the growth of the brain, said
> Katharine Milton, an authority on primate diet.
>
> Without meat, said Milton, it's unlikely that proto
> humans could have secured enough energy and nutrition
> from the plants available in their African environment
> at that time to evolve into the active, sociable,
> intelligent creatures they became. Receding forests
> would have deprived them of the more nutritious leaves
> and fruits that forest-dwelling primates survive on,
> said Milton.
>
> Her thesis complements the discovery last month by UC
> Berkeley professor Tim White and others that early
> human species were butchering and eating animal meat as
> long ago as 2.5 million years. Milton's article
> integrates dietary strategy with the evolution of human
> physiology to argue that meat eating was routine. It is
> published this month in the journal "Evolutionary
> Anthropology" (Vol.8, #1).
>
> http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/6-14-1999a.html

Here's an earlier article about her research:

'Dr. Milton claims that the crafty Homo sapiens were better
equipped to solve the dietary problems wrought by changing
environmental conditions. Expansion of brain power in
combination with growth in body size and reduction in the
jaw and teeth, are evidence of achievement of a high quality
diet. Without the high quality diet, the increased body size
simply produces a slow moving, fairly sedentary and unsociable
ape, like present-day orangutans and gorillas. Dental patterns
among fossils of hominids support evidence of a high quality,
plant-based diet. The decreased mass of the jaw and teeth
signify that either our ancestors were eating less fibrous,
easier-to-chew foods or they were processing them to remove
material that would be hard to digest.

Some researchers have proposed that modification in dental
structures resulted partly from specialization in hunting and
scavenging. However, electron microscope examination of
bones collected from early hominid sites reveals that our
ancestors most likely scavenged bones that were already
ravaged by carnivores. While the amount of meat consumed
by our distant ancestors is still hotly debated, there is
consensus that the Pleistocene diet consisted overwhelmingly
of vegetable material. While chimpanzees are known to kill,
this behaviour is not necessarily dietary but ritualistic and their
diet is at least 94% plants and fruits.

Wild chimps take in 100 grams of fibre each day, much more
than the 10 grams or less that the average North American ingests
today. Dr. Milton's studies have shown that the chimpanzee gut
is strikingly similar to the human gut in the efficiency with which
it processes fibre. According to Dr. Milton, our digestive tract
does not seem to be greatly modified from that of the common
ancestor of apes and humans, which was undoubtedly a
predominately herbivorous animal.
..'
http://veg.ca/content/view/285/113/

+

"Plio-Pleistocene site location and assemblage composition are
consistent with the hypothesis that large carcasses were taken *not*
for purposes of provisioning, but in the context of competitive male
displays." ...

Male strategies and Plio-Pleistocene archaeology
Authors: O'Connell J.F.1; Hawkes K.2; Lupo K.D.3; Blurton Jones
N.G.4 Source: Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 43, Number 6,
December 2002 , pp. 831-872(42) Publisher: Academic Press

Abstract:
Archaeological data are frequently cited in support of the idea that
big game hunting drove the evolution of early Homo, mainly through
its role in offspring provisioning. This argument has been disputed
on two grounds: (1) ethnographic observations on modern foragers
show that although hunting may contribute a large fraction of the
overall diet, it is an unreliable day-to-day food source, pursued
more for status than subsistence; (2) archaeological evidence from
the Plio-Pleistocene, coincident with the emergence of Homo can
be read to reflect low-yield scavenging, *not* hunting. Our review
of the archaeology yields results consistent with these critiques: (1)
early humans acquired large-bodied ungulates primarily by
aggressive scavenging, not hunting; (2) meat was consumed at or
near the point of acquisition, not at home bases, as the hunting
hypothesis requires; (3) carcasses were taken at highly variable rates
and in varying degrees of completeness, making meat from big game
an even less reliable food source than it is among modern foragers.
Collectively, Plio-Pleistocene site location and assemblage
composition are consistent with the hypothesis that large carcasses
were taken *not* for purposes of provisioning, but in the context of
competitive male displays. Even if meat were acquired more reliably
than the archaeology indicates, its consumption cannot account for
the significant changes in life history now seen to distinguish early
humans from ancestral australopiths. The coincidence between the
earliest dates for Homo ergaster and an increase in the archaeological
visibility of meat eating that many find so provocative instead reflects:
(1) changes in the structure of the environment that concentrated
scavenging opportunities in space, making evidence of their pursuit
more obvious to archaeologists; (2) H. ergaster's larger body size
(itself a consequence of other factors), which improved its ability at
interference competition.

Document Type: Research article
DOI: 10.1006/jhev.2002.0604
Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, University of Utah,
270 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112, U.S.A.
2: Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, 270 South
1400 East, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112, U.S.A.
3: Department of Anthropology, Washington State University,
Pullman, Washington, 99164, U.S.A. 4: Departments of
Anthropology and Psychiatry, and Graduate School of Education,
University of California, Los Angeles, California, 90095, U.S.A.

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ap/hu/2002/00000043/00000006/art00604



Rudy Canoza
2008-01-23 17:34:38 EST
pearl wrote:
> "Rudy Canoza" <pipes@thedismalscience.net> wrote in message news:13pfcvid492r4fe@corp.supernews.com...
>> BERKELEY-- Human ancestors who roamed the dry and open
>> savannas of Africa about 2 million years ago routinely
>> began to include meat in their diets to compensate for
>> a serious decline in the quality of plant foods,
>> according to a physical anthropologist at the
>> University of California, Berkeley.
>>
>> It was this new meat diet, full of densely-packed
>> nutrients, that provided the catalyst for human
>> evolution, particularly the growth of the brain, said
>> Katharine Milton, an authority on primate diet.
>>
>> Without meat, said Milton, it's unlikely that proto
>> humans could have secured enough energy and nutrition
>> from the plants available in their African environment
>> at that time to evolve into the active, sociable,
>> intelligent creatures they became. Receding forests
>> would have deprived them of the more nutritious leaves
>> and fruits that forest-dwelling primates survive on,
>> said Milton.
>>
>> Her thesis complements the discovery last month by UC
>> Berkeley professor Tim White and others that early
>> human species were butchering and eating animal meat as
>> long ago as 2.5 million years. Milton's article
>> integrates dietary strategy with the evolution of human
>> physiology to argue that meat eating was routine. It is
>> published this month in the journal "Evolutionary
>> Anthropology" (Vol.8, #1).
>>
>> http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/6-14-1999a.html
>
> Here's an earlier article about her research:

Irrelevant, and it's from a crackpot "veg" site. It
also isn't an "article"; it's an opinion piece by the
"veg" crackpots. It does nothing to refute Milton's
point: meat was essential to human evolution.

[snip shit hemorrhage]

You haven't refuted the point.

Derek
2008-01-23 17:48:06 EST
On Wed, 23 Jan 2008 22:03:41 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie> wrote:
>"Rudy Canoza" <pipes@thedismalscience.net> wrote in message news:13pfcvid492r4fe@corp.supernews.com...
>>
>> BERKELEY-- Human ancestors who roamed the dry and open
>> savannas of Africa about 2 million years ago routinely
>> began to include meat in their diets to compensate for
>> a serious decline in the quality of plant foods,
>> according to a physical anthropologist at the
>> University of California, Berkeley.
>>
>> It was this new meat diet, full of densely-packed
>> nutrients, that provided the catalyst for human
>> evolution, particularly the growth of the brain, said
>> Katharine Milton, an authority on primate diet.
>>
>> Without meat, said Milton, it's unlikely that proto
>> humans could have secured enough energy and nutrition
>> from the plants available in their African environment
>> at that time to evolve into the active, sociable,
>> intelligent creatures they became. Receding forests
>> would have deprived them of the more nutritious leaves
>> and fruits that forest-dwelling primates survive on,
>> said Milton.
>>
>> Her thesis complements the discovery last month by UC
>> Berkeley professor Tim White and others that early
>> human species were butchering and eating animal meat as
>> long ago as 2.5 million years. Milton's article
>> integrates dietary strategy with the evolution of human
>> physiology to argue that meat eating was routine. It is
>> published this month in the journal "Evolutionary
>> Anthropology" (Vol.8, #1).
>>
>> http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/6-14-1999a.html
>
>Here's an earlier article about her research:
>
>'Dr. Milton claims that the crafty Homo sapiens were better
>equipped to solve the dietary problems wrought by changing
>environmental conditions. Expansion of brain power in
>combination with growth in body size and reduction in the
>jaw and teeth, are evidence of achievement of a high quality
>diet.

Which, according to your evidence further down this page,
included meat. Well, fancy that; I always believed that we
were natural vegetarians until this thread.

>Without the high quality diet, the increased body size
>simply produces a slow moving, fairly sedentary and unsociable
>ape, like present-day orangutans and gorillas. Dental patterns
>among fossils of hominids support evidence of a high quality,
>plant-based diet. The decreased mass of the jaw and teeth
>signify that either our ancestors were eating less fibrous,
>easier-to-chew foods or they were processing them to remove
>material that would be hard to digest.
>
>Some researchers have proposed that modification in dental
>structures resulted partly from specialization in hunting and
>scavenging. However, electron microscope examination of
>bones collected from early hominid sites reveals that our
>ancestors most likely scavenged bones that were already
>ravaged by carnivores. While the amount of meat consumed
>by our distant ancestors is still hotly debated,

... but not contested,

>there is
>consensus that the Pleistocene diet consisted overwhelmingly
>of vegetable material.

So, we DID eat meat, though our diet consisted mostly of vegetable
matter. Thanks for clearing that up.
[..]

PotCupboard
2008-01-24 12:49:21 EST

"Rudy Canoza" <pipes@thedismalscience.net> wrote in message
news:13pfcvid492r4fe@corp.supernews.com...
> BERKELEY-- Human ancestors who roamed the dry and open savannas of Africa
> about 2 million years ago routinely began to include meat in their diets
> to compensate for a serious decline in the quality of plant foods,
> according to a physical anthropologist at the University of California,
> Berkeley.
>
> It was this new meat diet, full of densely-packed nutrients, that provided
> the catalyst for human evolution, particularly the growth of the brain,
> said Katharine Milton, an authority on primate diet.
>
> Without meat, said Milton, it's unlikely that proto humans could have
> secured enough energy and nutrition from the plants available in their
> African environment at that time to evolve into the active, sociable,
> intelligent creatures they became. Receding forests would have deprived
> them of the more nutritious leaves and fruits that forest-dwelling
> primates survive on, said Milton.
>
> Her thesis complements the discovery last month by UC Berkeley professor
> Tim White and others that early human species were butchering and eating
> animal meat as long ago as 2.5 million years. Milton's article integrates
> dietary strategy with the evolution of human physiology to argue that meat
> eating was routine. It is published this month in the journal
> "Evolutionary Anthropology" (Vol.8, #1).
>
> http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/6-14-1999a.html

===============================================

New study indicates that it is possible that starchy tubers, instead of
meat, allowed us to evolve our large brains:

The New Scientist September 16, 2007

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19526215.100-starchy-tubers-gave-our-ancestors-brains-a-boost.html

Starchy tubers gave our ancestors' brains a boost

By Bob Holmes

A DRAMATIC shift in diet sometime during the evolution of modern humans has
left its imprint on our genome. The discovery could provide some of the
strongest evidence to date in support of a controversial hypothesis that
purports to explain why humans, alone among all the apes, suddenly evolved
such big brains.

One plausible reason is that early hominins suddenly stumbled on a new, rich
food source capable of fuelling a large, energetically expensive brain. For
many years, anthropologists presumed the crucial food source was meat, which
became more accessible as our ancestors began to use stone tools for hunting
or cutting. More recently, however, others have proposed an alternative -
starchy tubers. Proponents of this view argue that early hominins had teeth
better suited to grinding plant matter than tearing flesh. Recent studies of
isotope ratios in hominin fossils also suggest a plant-rich diet.

But definitive proof is hard to come by. "We're talking millions of years
ago, we're talking perishable food items. We're just not going to find
archaeological evidence for it," says Nathaniel Dominy, an evolutionary
anthropologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

So Dominy and his colleagues decided to look for evidence in an unusual
place: our genome. They focused on a gene called AMY1, which codes for
salivary amylase, a starch-digesting enzyme. They already knew that the
number of copies of AMY1 varies widely from person to person, and when the
researchers surveyed 50 American college students of European descent, they
found anywhere from 2 to 15 copies. Moreover, individuals with more copies
had higher levels of amylase in their saliva. By contrast, chimpanzees,
whose natural diet contains very little starch, have just two copies and
very little salivary amylase.

The researchers then compared the genes of ethnic groups that traditionally
eat a high-starch diet - such as Europeans, Japanese and the African Hadza
people - with those whose traditional diet is very low in starch, such as
the African Datog and Asian Yakut. Those from a high-starch background
averaged 6.72 gene copies, significantly higher than the 5.44 copies carried
by those from a low-starch background (Nature Genetics, DOI:
10.1038/ng2123). "We think that selection is strongly favouring more copies
in populations with more starch in the diet," says Dominy. The study is one
of the first to show that natural selection can lead to an increase in gene
copy numbers.

If that increase coincided with the dramatic expansion in our ancestor's
brain size about 1.8 million years ago, that would be the strongest possible
evidence that roots and tubers, not meat, fuelled our intelligence.

===============================================

Additionally; IF meat was essential for human evolution, what bearing does
that have on our choice to eat it or not now?



Rudy Canoza
2008-01-24 20:39:19 EST
On Jan 24, 9:49 am, "PotCupboard" <p...@pot.org> wrote:
> "Rudy Canoza" <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote in message
>
> news:13pfcvid492r4fe@corp.supernews.com...
>
>
>
>
>
> > BERKELEY-- Human ancestors who roamed the dry and open savannas of Africa
> > about 2 million years ago routinely began to include meat in their diets
> > to compensate for a serious decline in the quality of plant foods,
> > according to a physical anthropologist at the University of California,
> > Berkeley.
>
> > It was this new meat diet, full of densely-packed nutrients, that provided
> > the catalyst for human evolution, particularly the growth of the brain,
> > said Katharine Milton, an authority on primate diet.
>
> > Without meat, said Milton, it's unlikely that proto humans could have
> > secured enough energy and nutrition from the plants available in their
> > African environment at that time to evolve into the active, sociable,
> > intelligent creatures they became. Receding forests would have deprived
> > them of the more nutritious leaves and fruits that forest-dwelling
> > primates survive on, said Milton.
>
> > Her thesis complements the discovery last month by UC Berkeley professor
> > Tim White and others that early human species were butchering and eating
> > animal meat as long ago as 2.5 million years. Milton's article integrates
> > dietary strategy with the evolution of human physiology to argue that meat
> > eating was routine. It is published this month in the journal
> > "Evolutionary Anthropology" (Vol.8, #1).
>
> >http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/6-14-1999a.html
>
> ===============================================
>
> New study indicates that it is possible that starchy tubers, instead of
> meat, allowed us to evolve our large brains:
>
> [...]
>
> If that increase coincided with the dramatic expansion in our ancestor's
> brain size about 1.8 million years ago, that would be the strongest possible
> evidence that roots and tubers, not meat, fuelled our intelligence.

This completely misunderstands the role anthropologists believe meat
played in the development of human intelligence. No contemporary
anthropologist believes that our brains grew bigger because of the
presence of the protein in meat; that would be Lamarckian evolution,
like the giraffe stretching its neck to eat the higher leaves, then
passing that mutation on to its offspring.

In the view of anthropologists, it wasn't the meat directly that
resulted in large human brains; it was the *acquisition* of the meat.
The ability for tool-making and the ability for the social
organization required to hunt both were forms of increased
intelligence, and those came with bigger brains. Those individual
hominids who had the bigger brains had the intelligence to engage in
the two crucial aspects of meat acquisition, and so they survived and
passed those genes on to descendants.


>
> ===============================================
>
> Additionally; IF meat was essential for human evolution, what bearing does
> that have on our choice to eat it or not now?

Irrelevant question. The issue being debated - in a very one-sided
manner - is whether of not meat is a natural staple of human diet,
from the time of the appearance of the species. The crackpot who is
losing the one-sided debate is insisting, despite all the evidence to
the contrary - much of it furnished by her - that meat is not a
natural food for humans, and that THAT is why humans shouldn't eat it.

There are plenty of good reasons to choose to eat meat, not least that
it is nutritious.

Pearl
2008-01-25 07:57:06 EST
"Rudy Canoza" <notgenx32@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:1ea1d6ca-1e0a-4ab7-8d5f-79abbc950799@s19g2000prg.googlegroups.com...
On Jan 24, 9:49 am, "PotCupboard" <p...@pot.org> wrote:
> "Rudy Canoza" <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote in message

> > Without meat, said Milton, it's unlikely that proto humans could have
> > secured enough energy and nutrition from the plants available in their
> > African environment at that time to evolve into the active, sociable,
> > intelligent creatures they became. Receding forests would have deprived
> > them of the more nutritious leaves and fruits that forest-dwelling
> > primates survive on, said Milton.

> ===============================================
>
> New study indicates that it is possible that starchy tubers, instead of
> meat, allowed us to evolve our large brains:
>
> [...]
>
> If that increase coincided with the dramatic expansion in our ancestor's
> brain size about 1.8 million years ago, that would be the strongest possible
> evidence that roots and tubers, not meat, fuelled our intelligence.

-In the view of anthropologists, it wasn't the meat directly that
-resulted in large human brains; it was the *acquisition* of the meat.
-The ability for tool-making and the ability for the social
-organization required to hunt both were forms of increased
-intelligence, and those came with bigger brains. Those individual
-hominids who had the bigger brains had the intelligence to engage in
-the two crucial aspects of meat acquisition, and so they survived and
-passed those genes on to descendants.

'Medical News Today
Main Category: Biology/Biochemistry News
Article Date: 20 Feb 2006 - 0:00am (UK)
..
Sussman and Hart provide evidence that many of our modern
human traits, including those of cooperation and socialization,
developed as a result of being a prey species and the early human's
ability to out-smart the predators. These traits did not result from
trying to hunt for prey or kill our competitors, says Sussman.

"One of the main defenses against predators by animals without
physical defenses is living in groups," says Sussman. "In fact,
all diurnal primates (those active during the day) live in
permanent social groups. Most ecologists agree that predation
pressure is one of the major adaptive reasons for this group-living.
In this way there are more eyes and ears to locate the predators
and more individuals to mob them if attacked or to confuse them
by scattering. There are a number of reasons that living in groups
is beneficial for animals that otherwise would be very prone to
being preyed upon."

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=38011

"Plio-Pleistocene site location and assemblage composition are
consistent with the hypothesis that large carcasses were taken *not*
for purposes of provisioning, but in the context of competitive male
displays." ...

Male strategies and Plio-Pleistocene archaeology
Authors: O'Connell J.F.1; Hawkes K.2; Lupo K.D.3; Blurton Jones
N.G.4 Source: Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 43, Number 6,
December 2002 , pp. 831-872(42) Publisher: Academic Press

Abstract:
Archaeological data are frequently cited in support of the idea that
big game hunting drove the evolution of early Homo, mainly through
its role in offspring provisioning. This argument has been disputed
on two grounds: (1) ethnographic observations on modern foragers
show that although hunting may contribute a large fraction of the
overall diet, it is an unreliable day-to-day food source, pursued
more for status than subsistence; (2) archaeological evidence from
the Plio-Pleistocene, coincident with the emergence of Homo can
be read to reflect low-yield scavenging, *not* hunting. Our review
of the archaeology yields results consistent with these critiques: (1)
early humans acquired large-bodied ungulates primarily by
aggressive scavenging, not hunting; (2) meat was consumed at or
near the point of acquisition, not at home bases, as the hunting
hypothesis requires; (3) carcasses were taken at highly variable rates
and in varying degrees of completeness, making meat from big game
an even less reliable food source than it is among modern foragers.
Collectively, Plio-Pleistocene site location and assemblage
composition are consistent with the hypothesis that large carcasses
were taken *not* for purposes of provisioning, but in the context of
competitive male displays. Even if meat were acquired more reliably
than the archaeology indicates, its consumption cannot account for
the significant changes in life history now seen to distinguish early
humans from ancestral australopiths. The coincidence between the
earliest dates for Homo ergaster and an increase in the archaeological
visibility of meat eating that many find so provocative instead reflects:
(1) changes in the structure of the environment that concentrated
scavenging opportunities in space, making evidence of their pursuit
more obvious to archaeologists; (2) H. ergaster's larger body size
(itself a consequence of other factors), which improved its ability at
interference competition.

Document Type: Research article
DOI: 10.1006/jhev.2002.0604
Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, University of Utah,
270 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112, U.S.A.
2: Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, 270 South
1400 East, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112, U.S.A.
3: Department of Anthropology, Washington State University,
Pullman, Washington, 99164, U.S.A. 4: Departments of
Anthropology and Psychiatry, and Graduate School of Education,
University of California, Los Angeles, California, 90095, U.S.A.

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ap/hu/2002/00000043/00000006/art00604






Pearl
2008-01-25 07:57:59 EST
"PotCupboard" <piss@pot.org> wrote in message news:5vs1d1F1nra67U1@mid.individual.net...
>
> "Rudy Canoza" <pipes@thedismalscience.net> wrote in message
> news:13pfcvid492r4fe@corp.supernews.com...
> > BERKELEY-- Human ancestors who roamed the dry and open savannas of Africa
> > about 2 million years ago routinely began to include meat in their diets
> > to compensate for a serious decline in the quality of plant foods,
> > according to a physical anthropologist at the University of California,
> > Berkeley.
> >
> > It was this new meat diet, full of densely-packed nutrients, that provided
> > the catalyst for human evolution, particularly the growth of the brain,
> > said Katharine Milton, an authority on primate diet.
> >
> > Without meat, said Milton, it's unlikely that proto humans could have
> > secured enough energy and nutrition from the plants available in their
> > African environment at that time to evolve into the active, sociable,
> > intelligent creatures they became. Receding forests would have deprived
> > them of the more nutritious leaves and fruits that forest-dwelling
> > primates survive on, said Milton.
> >
> > Her thesis complements the discovery last month by UC Berkeley professor
> > Tim White and others that early human species were butchering and eating
> > animal meat as long ago as 2.5 million years. Milton's article integrates
> > dietary strategy with the evolution of human physiology to argue that meat
> > eating was routine. It is published this month in the journal
> > "Evolutionary Anthropology" (Vol.8, #1).
> >
> > http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/6-14-1999a.html
>
> ===============================================
>
> New study indicates that it is possible that starchy tubers, instead of
> meat, allowed us to evolve our large brains:
>
> The New Scientist September 16, 2007
>
> http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19526215.100-starchy-tubers-gave-our-ancestors-brains-a-boost.html
>
> Starchy tubers gave our ancestors' brains a boost
>
> By Bob Holmes
>
> A DRAMATIC shift in diet sometime during the evolution of modern humans has
> left its imprint on our genome. The discovery could provide some of the
> strongest evidence to date in support of a controversial hypothesis that
> purports to explain why humans, alone among all the apes, suddenly evolved
> such big brains.
>
> One plausible reason is that early hominins suddenly stumbled on a new, rich
> food source capable of fuelling a large, energetically expensive brain. For
> many years, anthropologists presumed the crucial food source was meat, which
> became more accessible as our ancestors began to use stone tools for hunting
> or cutting. More recently, however, others have proposed an alternative -
> starchy tubers. Proponents of this view argue that early hominins had teeth
> better suited to grinding plant matter than tearing flesh. Recent studies of
> isotope ratios in hominin fossils also suggest a plant-rich diet.
>
> But definitive proof is hard to come by. "We're talking millions of years
> ago, we're talking perishable food items. We're just not going to find
> archaeological evidence for it," says Nathaniel Dominy, an evolutionary
> anthropologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
>
> So Dominy and his colleagues decided to look for evidence in an unusual
> place: our genome. They focused on a gene called AMY1, which codes for
> salivary amylase, a starch-digesting enzyme. They already knew that the
> number of copies of AMY1 varies widely from person to person, and when the
> researchers surveyed 50 American college students of European descent, they
> found anywhere from 2 to 15 copies. Moreover, individuals with more copies
> had higher levels of amylase in their saliva. By contrast, chimpanzees,
> whose natural diet contains very little starch, have just two copies and
> very little salivary amylase.
>
> The researchers then compared the genes of ethnic groups that traditionally
> eat a high-starch diet - such as Europeans, Japanese and the African Hadza
> people - with those whose traditional diet is very low in starch, such as
> the African Datog and Asian Yakut. Those from a high-starch background
> averaged 6.72 gene copies, significantly higher than the 5.44 copies carried
> by those from a low-starch background (Nature Genetics, DOI:
> 10.1038/ng2123). "We think that selection is strongly favouring more copies
> in populations with more starch in the diet," says Dominy. The study is one
> of the first to show that natural selection can lead to an increase in gene
> copy numbers.
>
> If that increase coincided with the dramatic expansion in our ancestor's
> brain size about 1.8 million years ago, that would be the strongest possible
> evidence that roots and tubers, not meat, fuelled our intelligence.

Related..

'It has long been held that big game hunting is THE key development
in human evolutionary history, facilitating the appearance of patterns
in reproduction, social organization, and life history fundamental to
the modern human condition. Though this view has been challenged
strongly in recent years, it persists as the conventional wisdom, largely
for lack of a plausible alternative. Recent research on women's time
allocation and food sharing among tropical hunter-gatherers now
provides the basis for such an alternative.

The problem with big game hunting

The appeal of big game hunting as an important evolutionary force
lies in the common assumption that hunting and related paternal
provisioning are essential to child rearing among human foragers:
mother is seen as unable to bear, feed and raise children on her
own; hence relies on husband/father for critical nutritional support,
especially in the form of meat. This makes dating the first
appearance of this pattern the fundamental problem in human
origins research. The common association between stone tools
and the bones of large animals at sites of Pleistocene age suggests
to many that it may be quite old, possibly originating with Homo
erectus nearly two million years ago (e.g. Gowlett 1993).

Despite its widespread acceptance, there are good reasons to be
skeptical about the underlying assumption. Most important is the
observation that big game hunting is actually a poor way to support
a family. Among the Tanzanian Hadza, for example, men armed
with bows and poisoned arrows operating in a game-rich habitat
acquire large animal prey only about once every thirty hunter-days,
not nearly often enough to feed their children effectively. They
could do better as provisioners by taking small game or plant
foods, yet choose not to, which suggests that big game hunting
serves some other purpose unrelated to offspring survivorship
(Hawkes et al. 1991). Whatever it is, reliable support for children
must come from elsewhere.

The importance of women's foraging and food sharing

Recent research on Hadza time allocation and foraging returns
shows that at least among these low latitude foragers, women's
gathering is the source (Hawkes et al. 1997). The most difficult
time of the year for the Hadza is the dry season, when foods
younger children can procure for themselves are unavailable.
Mothers respond by provisioning youngsters with foods they
themselves can procure daily and at relatively high rates, but that
their children cannot, largely because of handling requirements.
Tubers, which require substantial upper body strength and
endurance to collect and the ability to control fire in processing,
are a good example.

Provisioning of this sort has at least two important implications:
1) it allows the Hadza to operate in times and places where they
otherwise could not if, as among other primates, weaned offspring
were responsible for feeding themselves; 2) it lets another adult
assist in the process allowing mother to turn her attention to the
next pregnancy that much sooner. Quantitative data on time
allocation, foraging returns, and changes in children's nutritional
status indicate that, among the Hadza, that other adult is typically
grandmother. Senior Hadza women forage long hours every day,
enjoy high returns for effort, and provision their grandchildren
effectively, especially when their daughters are nursing new
infants (Hawkes et al. 1989, 1997). Their support is crucial to
both daughters' fecundity and grandchildren's survivorship,
with important implications for grandmothers' own fitness.
...
http://www.cast.uark.edu/local/icaes/conferences/wburg/posters/oconnell/oconnell.html




Pearl
2008-01-25 08:18:50 EST
"Rudy Canoza" <notgenx32@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:1ea1d6ca-1e0a-4ab7-8d5f-79abbc950799@s19g2000prg.googlegroups.com...

-the two crucial aspects of meat acquisition, and so they survived and
-passed those genes on to descendants.

'No Time for Bullies: Baboons Retool Their Culture
By NATALIE ANGIER
Published: April 13, 2004

Sometimes it takes the great Dustbuster of fate to clear the room of
bullies and bad habits. Freak cyclones helped destroy Kublai Khan's
brutal Mongolian empire, for example, while the Black Death of the
14th century capsized the medieval theocracy and gave the Renaissance
a chance to shine.

Among a troop of savanna baboons in Kenya, a terrible outbreak of
tuberculosis 20 years ago selectively killed off the biggest, nastiest and
most despotic males, setting the stage for a social and behavioral
transformation unlike any seen in this notoriously truculent primate.

In a study appearing today in the journal PloS Biology (online at
www.plosbiology.org), researchers describe the drastic temperamental and
tonal shift that occurred in a troop of 62 baboons when its most belligerent
members vanished from the scene. The victims were all dominant adult males
that had been strong and snarly enough to fight with a neighboring baboon
troop over the spoils at a tourist lodge garbage dump, and were exposed
there to meat tainted with bovine tuberculosis, which soon killed them. Left
behind in the troop, designated the Forest Troop, were the 50 percent of
males that had been too subordinate to try dump brawling, as well as all the
females and their young. With that change in demographics came a cultural
swing toward pacifism, a relaxing of the usually parlous baboon hierarchy,
and a willingness to use affection and mutual grooming rather than threats,
swipes and bites to foster a patriotic spirit.

Remarkably, the Forest Troop has maintained its genial style over two
decades, even though the male survivors of the epidemic have since died
or disappeared and been replaced by males from the outside. (As is the
case for most primates, baboon females spend their lives in their natal home,
while the males leave at puberty to seek their fortunes elsewhere.) The
persistence of communal comity suggests that the resident baboons must
somehow be instructing the immigrants in the unusual customs of the tribe.

"We don't yet understand the mechanism of transmittal," said Dr. Robert M.
Sapolsky, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford, "but the jerky
new guys are obviously learning, `We don't do things like that around here.'"
Dr. Sapolsky wrote the report with his colleague and wife, Dr. Lisa J. Share.

Dr. Sapolsky, who is renowned for his study of the physiology of stress,
said that the Forest Troop baboons probably felt as good as they acted.
Hormone samples from the monkeys showed far less evidence of stress in
even the lowest-ranking individuals, when contrasted with baboons living
in more rancorous societies.

The researchers were able to compare the behavior and physiology of the
contemporary Forest Troop primates to two control groups: a similar-size
baboon congregation living nearby, called the Talek Troop, and the Forest
Troop itself from 1979 through 1982, the era that might be called Before
Alpha Die-off, or B.A.D.

"It's a really fine, thorough piece of work, with the sort of methodology
and lucky data sets that you can only get from doing long-term field
research," said Dr. Duane Quiatt, a primatologist at the University of
Colorado at Denver and a co-author with Vernon Reynolds of the 1993
book "Primate Behaviour: Information, Social Knowledge and the Evolution
of Culture."

The new work vividly demonstrates that, Putumayo records notwithstanding,
humans hold no patent on multiculturalism. As a growing body of research
indicates, many social animals learn from one another and cultivate regional
variants in skills, conventions and fashions. Some chimpanzees crack open
their nuts with a stone hammer on a stone anvil; others prefer wood hammers
on wood anvils. The chimpanzees of the Tai forest rain-dance; those of the
Gombe tickle themselves. Dr. Jane Goodall reported a fad in one chimpanzee
group: a young female started wiggling her hands, and before long, every
teen chimp was doing likewise.

(Page 2 of 2)

But in the baboon study, the culture being conveyed is less a specific
behavior or skill than a global code of conduct. "You can more accurately
describe it as the social ethos of group," said Dr. Andrew Whiten, a
professor of evolutionary and developmental psychology at the University
of St. Andrews in Scotland who has studied chimpanzee culture. "It's an
attitude that's being transmitted."

The report also offers real-world proof of a principle first demonstrated in
captive populations of monkeys: that with the right upbringing, diplomacy is
infectious. Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal, the director of the Living Links Center
at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University in
Atlanta, has shown that if the normally pugilistic rhesus monkeys are reared
with the more conciliatory stumptailed monkeys, the rhesus monkeys learn
the value of tolerance, peacemaking and mutual hip-hugging.

Dr. de Waal, who wrote an essay to accompany the new baboon study,
said in a telephone interview, "The good news for humans is that it looks
like peaceful conditions, once established, can be maintained," he said.

"And if baboons can do it," he said, "why not us? The bad news is that you
might have to first knock out all the most aggressive males to get there."

Jerkiness or worse certainly seems to be a job description for ordinary male
baboons. The average young male, after wheedling his way into a new troop
at around age 7, spends his prime years seeking to fang his way up the
hierarchy; and once he's gained some status, he devotes many a leisure hour
to whimsical displays of power at scant personal cost. He harasses and
attacks females, which weigh half his hundred pounds and lack his
thumb-thick canines, or he terrorizes the low-ranking males he knows cannot
retaliate.

Dr. Barbara Smuts, a primatologist at the University of Michigan who wrote
the 1985 book "Sex and Friendship in Baboons," said that the females in the
troop she studied received a serious bite from a male annually, maybe losing
a strip of flesh or part of an ear in the process. As they age and lose
their strength, however, males may calm down and adopt a new approach to
group living, affiliating with females so devotedly that they keep their
reproductive opportunities going even as their ranking in the male hierarchy
plunges.

For their part, female baboons, which live up to 25 years - compared with
the male's 18 - inherit their rank in the gynocracy from their mothers and
so spend less time fighting for dominance. They do, however, readily battle
females from outside the fold, for they, not the males, are the keepers of
turf and dynasty.

The new-fashioned Forest Troop is no United Nations, or even the average
frat house. Its citizens remain highly aggressive and argumentative, and the
males still obsess over hierarchy. "We're talking about baboons here," said
Dr. Sapolsky.

What most distinguishes this congregation from others is that the males
resist taking out their bad moods on females and underlings. When a
dominant male wants to pick a fight, he finds someone his own size and
rank. As a result, a greater percentage of male-male conflicts in the Forest
Troop occur between closely ranked individuals than is seen in the control
populations, where the bullies seek easier pickings. Moreover, Forest Troop
males of all ranks spend more time grooming and being groomed, and just
generally huddling close to troop mates, than do their counterpart males in
the study.

Interestingly, the male faces in the Forest Troop may have changed over
time, but the relative numbers have not. Ever since the tuberculosis
epidemic killed half the adult males, the ratio has remained skewed, with
twice as many females as males. Yet the researchers have demonstrated
that the troop's sexual complexion alone cannot explain its character.
Examining other troops with a similar preponderance of females, the
Stanford scientists saw no evidence of the Forest Troop's relative amity.

Dr. Sapolsky has no idea how long the good times will last. "I confess
I'm rooting for the troop to stay like this forever, but I worry about how
vulnerable they may be," he said. "All it would take is two or three jerky
adolescent males entering at the same time to tilt the balance and destroy
the culture."

http://tinyurl.com/3hn4m



PotCupboard
2008-01-25 09:25:02 EST
Rudy Canoza wrote:
> On Jan 24, 9:49 am, "PotCupboard" <p...@pot.org> wrote:
>> "Rudy Canoza" <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote in message
>>
>> news:13pfcvid492r4fe@corp.supernews.com...
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>> BERKELEY-- Human ancestors who roamed the dry and open savannas of Africa
>>> about 2 million years ago routinely began to include meat in their diets
>>> to compensate for a serious decline in the quality of plant foods,
>>> according to a physical anthropologist at the University of California,
>>> Berkeley.
>>> It was this new meat diet, full of densely-packed nutrients, that provided
>>> the catalyst for human evolution, particularly the growth of the brain,
>>> said Katharine Milton, an authority on primate diet.
>>> Without meat, said Milton, it's unlikely that proto humans could have
>>> secured enough energy and nutrition from the plants available in their
>>> African environment at that time to evolve into the active, sociable,
>>> intelligent creatures they became. Receding forests would have deprived
>>> them of the more nutritious leaves and fruits that forest-dwelling
>>> primates survive on, said Milton.
>>> Her thesis complements the discovery last month by UC Berkeley professor
>>> Tim White and others that early human species were butchering and eating
>>> animal meat as long ago as 2.5 million years. Milton's article integrates
>>> dietary strategy with the evolution of human physiology to argue that meat
>>> eating was routine. It is published this month in the journal
>>> "Evolutionary Anthropology" (Vol.8, #1).
>>> http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/6-14-1999a.html
>> ===============================================
>>
>> New study indicates that it is possible that starchy tubers, instead of
>> meat, allowed us to evolve our large brains:
>>
>> [...]
>>
>> If that increase coincided with the dramatic expansion in our ancestor's
>> brain size about 1.8 million years ago, that would be the strongest possible
>> evidence that roots and tubers, not meat, fuelled our intelligence.
>
> This completely misunderstands the role anthropologists believe meat
> played in the development of human intelligence. No contemporary
> anthropologist believes that our brains grew bigger because of the
> presence of the protein in meat; that would be Lamarckian evolution,
> like the giraffe stretching its neck to eat the higher leaves, then
> passing that mutation on to its offspring.

If I read the Berkeley article above correctly; it only develops the
nutritional theory, not a social / tool making theory, as such you seem
to be undermining your own citation.

What about the acquisition and processing of roots and tubers as an
evolutionary catalyst? That can necessitate planning, team work, tool
making, communication and other social skills.

>
> In the view of anthropologists, it wasn't the meat directly that
> resulted in large human brains; it was the *acquisition* of the meat.
> The ability for tool-making and the ability for the social
> organization required to hunt both were forms of increased
> intelligence, and those came with bigger brains. Those individual
> hominids who had the bigger brains had the intelligence to engage in
> the two crucial aspects of meat acquisition, and so they survived and
> passed those genes on to descendants.
>

I acknowledge this, but you don't seem to have supplied the evidence.

>
>> ===============================================
>>
>> Additionally; IF meat was essential for human evolution, what bearing does
>> that have on our choice to eat it or not now?
>
> Irrelevant question.

It wasn't that difficult to answer was it? I would like an answer,
because I can not see any objective relevance to our choices today.


>The issue being debated - in a very one-sided
> manner - is whether of not meat is a natural staple of human diet,
> from the time of the appearance of the species. The crackpot who is
> losing the one-sided debate is insisting, despite all the evidence to
> the contrary - much of it furnished by her - that meat is not a
> natural food for humans, and that THAT is why humans shouldn't eat it.

You posted the OP, and hoped you could see that there is still research
being carried out, comment on that and answer a question.

>
> There are plenty of good reasons to choose to eat meat, not least that
> it is nutritious.

Human flesh is also nutritious.
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