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New research on "the Real Neanderthal diet"- more plant matter than previously suspected

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Someone just posted this article up on my feed:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2175417/The-real-Neanderthal-diet-Researchers-shed-new-light-early-mans-diet--turns-ate-greens-knew-use-plants-medicine.html

"The researchers say the starch granules and carbohydrate markers in the samples, plus evidence for plant compounds such as azulenes and coumarins, as well as possible evidence for nuts, grasses and even green vegetables, show a broader use of plants than previously thought."

Any thoughts/reactions?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 28, 2012
at 01:35 PM

@VB, a year ago Paleohacks had more to do with what Taubes/Sisson/Cordain wrote than how our ancestors lived. It was easy to get downvotes for saying the obvious. Of course our ancestors ate anything they had to, when they had to, and spent a lot of time getting and preparing it. But there are no carrots depicted at Lascaux. It was not vegan-world, nor was it paleo world. No one had hemp shoes or fish oil capsules.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 28, 2012
at 01:36 AM

LOL. No, Bill don't worry. I'm not peddling veganism.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 28, 2012
at 01:06 AM

I hope that your not for a second taking this to mean that they ate a bulk of their dietary calories from 'plant matter', because once again, you would not be using your critical thinking skills that got the human race where we are today.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 27, 2012
at 11:44 PM

Yeah, I know. But about the cannabolism; from what I have read cannibalism is used as a 1) a way to punish criminals or outcasts, not as means for nutrition in times when food is scarce. But yes, good answer- it does not say the precise composition. From what I have read, meat by choice makes up large percentage of calories.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 27, 2012
at 11:21 PM

VB, a surprising amount of paleo-minded people, actually. For instance, I frequently spot questions asking like "is it okay to feed my kids carbs?" and newbies under the impression that all carbs are bad, and asking if it's "okay" to eat some berries or fruit in the summertime. Paleo has done a wonderful job of demonizing most foods besides meat and green vegetables.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on July 27, 2012
at 09:57 PM

Of course they did! Who would have thought they didn't?

59fa7cd87fb9d669adf21e5cf3e7ada5

on July 27, 2012
at 09:36 PM

If God had meant us to eat like Neanderthals he wouldn't have made us hairier

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4 Answers

6
Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

on July 27, 2012
at 09:26 PM

I'm not a Neanderthal. As a Northern European, I am at best 2% Neanderthal. What they ate really has no relevance to me - and since they became extinct, I'm really not interested in "aping" them. Following the failed strategies of the extinct doesn't seem like a plan to "win the Darwin." To be frank. :)

59fa7cd87fb9d669adf21e5cf3e7ada5

on July 27, 2012
at 09:36 PM

If God had meant us to eat like Neanderthals he wouldn't have made us hairier

4
Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on July 27, 2012
at 11:30 PM

Remember that this isn't telling us what constituted the bulk of their diet, either. We know they ingested some plant matter, but we don't know if it was only eaten during extreme hunger, whether it was medicinal in nature, etc. All the evidence to date indicates a preference for meat (to the point where they were somewhat cannibalistic at times), despite this finding.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 27, 2012
at 11:44 PM

Yeah, I know. But about the cannabolism; from what I have read cannibalism is used as a 1) a way to punish criminals or outcasts, not as means for nutrition in times when food is scarce. But yes, good answer- it does not say the precise composition. From what I have read, meat by choice makes up large percentage of calories.

1
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on July 28, 2012
at 01:32 AM

I'm sure they ate more bugs, frogs, snakes and such than most of us would, too. I totally do not doubt that they ate all the plant matter they could. I eat a lot of plant matter, just not the crappy kind. (Processed, etc.)

1
0361cceaf703c92f99848b078bfc9f67

(225)

on July 27, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Sounds plausible. There is still a lot to discover about what our species ate in the past. While bone fragments remain through time, plant matter does not. I can imagine that as more detailed methods of analysis are developed, more findings like this will happen (not saying that we will be made out to have been vegetarians, but that our species likely evolved on an extremely diverse and varied diet).

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