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Humans Were Hypercarnivorous for Two Million Years

A study conducted by a group of Israeli researchers found that Humans were apex predators for nearly two million years. This research was published in the yearbook of the American Physical Anthropology Association.

The study at  Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with Portugal’s University of Minho, researched that prehistoric humans were omnivores and that their eating habits can be compared to those of modern Humans. According to the report published the research may give a broad basis for fundamental insight into the biological and cultural evolution of Humans.

Prof. Ran Barkai of TAU’s archaeology department said that the study addresses a great current controversy both scientific and non-scientific. He also spoke about the paleolithic diet that suggests primitive Humans consume plants, fruits, roots, nuts and meat making those foods most natural for consumption. This type of diet is a critical issue not only in the past but also concerning the present and the future.

The researchers blended genetics, metabolism, physiology, morphology and archaeology of tool development to resolve the question of whether Stone Age humans were carnivores or generalist omnivores. Miki Ben-Dor a fellow TAU researcher said that the attempts made to reconstruct a diet of Stone Age Humans were mostly based on the comparison to 20th century Hunter societies.

The researchers examined the acidity of peoples stomachs, which is high even for predators, indicating a meat diet in which the acid would protect from harmful bacteria. They also looked at fat’s structure in human cells which is similar to predators, Human fat is contained in a large number of small fat cells, whereas in omnivores it tends to be the other way around.

The researchers found that humans shifted toward a plant-based diet some 85,000 years ago, mainly due to the decline in larger animals as a food source. Barkai concluded that the discovery of Darwin, the adaptation of species to obtaining and digesting their food is the main source of evolutionary changes. They also claim that Humans were apex predators The researchers believe Humans only began moving toward a diet that is much more plant-based some 85,000 years ago, possibly as a result of a decline in larger animals as a food source.

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