5

votes

Are we really hunters?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 06, 2010 at 3:52 PM

I recently tried to explain the paleo diet to someone and said that humans had not adapted yet to grains and were better suited to the diet of a hunter gatherer (meat, fruits, nuts, eggs) and that this also showed because our eyes were at the front of our heads and not on the side, like prey. I got the reply:"look at yourself, you could not even catch a rabbit without aid. You don't have explosive speed that all cats have, no claws like a bear. You are way to slow to naturally catch any prey. Look at an animal like a gorilla, very much our next of kin, which is a herbivore" That also really made sense to me and made me doubtful. If you look at your body compared to animal hunters, there is not even a trace of any characteristics of a hunter. Can some paleo specialist give me a reply?

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on November 05, 2010
at 03:14 PM

yea but they aren't persistence hunters, just good runners.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on November 05, 2010
at 01:59 PM

What does sequence matching prove? The sequence of DNA isn't the only or ultimate driver of gene expression. Two things can have the same genes yet be very different (e.g. liver and eye). This arises from the idea that evolution gene-centered.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on November 05, 2010
at 01:55 PM

Don't the Tarahumara eat a very high-grain diet?

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on November 05, 2010
at 01:54 PM

Bisous, It's a reasonable counter-argument. I appreciate the humor in your response, but let's also take his friend's remark as a chance to refine our own Paleo thoughts.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

(4089)

on September 07, 2010
at 01:58 PM

I cannot second this comment highly enough.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

(4089)

on September 07, 2010
at 01:58 PM

Sous vide or good old-fashioned Paleo BBQ?

B294438548c32ed878905baf6cd1b332

on September 06, 2010
at 07:26 PM

LOL. Seriously.

B294438548c32ed878905baf6cd1b332

on September 06, 2010
at 07:25 PM

Peter - that's interesting. A lot of times when people change their diet, myself included, we change numerous things all at once. So, it can be tough to tell exactly where the benefits or damage is coming from. If you suspect that nuts are the culprit, I bet you are right. If you keep experimenting with this, keep us updated...I'd like to hear how things turn out.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:26 PM

i was looking for where i read about this when i was responding. i should have known, well done!

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:25 PM

i have gluten intolerance and the damage done over the years makes digestion tricky. eating nuts in large quantities also make me feel bad. limit those and cook your veggies. i tend to stay away from raw stuff at least until i think my digestive powers have returned to normal.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:12 PM

Peter -- humans are very much hunters. We don't need explosive speed, claws etc etc -- we have the most dangerous and effective weapon of all: our brains. We use our brains to make tools that more than make up for our lack of physical strength or capabilities.

Dcceb5e25ed1a003a69fc7798dd99707

(25)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:12 PM

Thanks, for the answer. I have gone paleo because I have an inflammatory bowel disease and got convinced by a specialist that grains contain poison intended to kill insects. Unfortunately they also cause problems for some humans, who have a protein that looks like the poison. This causes the anti immune system to first attack the poison and then keep attacking your own protein sustaining the inflammation. However going cold turkey pale seemed to worsen my situation. I think that this had to do with increased nut consumption. Maybe not as much the nuts itself, but more the sulfiet preservative.

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14 Answers

8
090f2b8054d2201cd3a2fbc6bfb6932a

on September 06, 2010
at 05:03 PM

Another simple observation (as simple as looking at our teeth or our running ability and making conclusions about our ancestry) is that we are the dominant species and we got to be so by killing and eating everything else. Bears are frighteningly powerful, yet humans have been wearing their skins and living in their caves for millennia. There is recent evidence of meat eating by Australopithecines, predating Homo species by about a million years. Also, our brain is twice the size of a gorilla's and our gut is half its size; i.e., perfectly suited to a high meat/fat diet. Our claws and speed are our brains, weapons, and communal hunting skills. We can, and have, killed and eaten all of our competitors. Doesn't sound very herbivorous to me. Oh yeah, we also produce hydrochloric acid in our gut, vegetarian species don't; it's for eating animal protein. Anyway, I'm sure you'll get lots of good ammo here.

Juan

4
5c8a675951eb32b8c19e9fe4e764294c

(168)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:55 PM

I am going to catch your friend and eat him.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

(4089)

on September 07, 2010
at 01:58 PM

Sous vide or good old-fashioned Paleo BBQ?

B294438548c32ed878905baf6cd1b332

on September 06, 2010
at 07:26 PM

LOL. Seriously.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on November 05, 2010
at 01:54 PM

Bisous, It's a reasonable counter-argument. I appreciate the humor in your response, but let's also take his friend's remark as a chance to refine our own Paleo thoughts.

3
Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

on September 06, 2010
at 06:49 PM

Look at your big brain, your eyes, your opposable thumbs, your language and communication skills, your skill at making tools and throwing things, your adapation for endurance running. A half dozen human beings armed with rocks and pointy sticks and kids to feed is the deadliest predator on Earth.

Your friend has no idea of what he is.

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 06, 2010
at 05:55 PM

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:26 PM

i was looking for where i read about this when i was responding. i should have known, well done!

3
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on September 06, 2010
at 04:59 PM

We are closer to Chimps actually and chimps hunt and eat meat. In fact, Chimps don't have much of the obvious predator traits either but they have brains and they work in groups. Recently scientists have even seen them hunt with spears... article.

Also the book Born to Run has a great description of how our bodies are built to out last prey so that we can persistence hunt and eventually wear out our prey.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on November 05, 2010
at 01:55 PM

Don't the Tarahumara eat a very high-grain diet?

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on November 05, 2010
at 03:14 PM

yea but they aren't persistence hunters, just good runners.

2
B294438548c32ed878905baf6cd1b332

on September 06, 2010
at 04:54 PM

Just want to note a couple of things:

  • the closest DNA match to humans are chimps - 96% - and chimps are omnivorous. You can look up chimps hunting on YouTube to see them work together in packs, hunting monkeys in trees.
  • there is much evidence pointing to humans being omnivorous for the last few million years, which is long enough on an evolutionary timeline for us to have adapted to a diet of meat and fat -- animal products.
  • finally, ask yourself what you want and experiment with various diets. If paleo makes you feel great, look great, and gives you the overall capacity to enjoy life more... what's the problem? If on the other hand you attain that from a vegetarian diet...go for it. Also, what type of body composition are you looking for? Which is more likely to help you achieve that? Etc.

Since you yourself are a sample size of 1, you can opt for a pragmatic and empirical approach to your diet. That way, it doesn't matter so much where your eyes are located on your head.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:25 PM

i have gluten intolerance and the damage done over the years makes digestion tricky. eating nuts in large quantities also make me feel bad. limit those and cook your veggies. i tend to stay away from raw stuff at least until i think my digestive powers have returned to normal.

Dcceb5e25ed1a003a69fc7798dd99707

(25)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:12 PM

Thanks, for the answer. I have gone paleo because I have an inflammatory bowel disease and got convinced by a specialist that grains contain poison intended to kill insects. Unfortunately they also cause problems for some humans, who have a protein that looks like the poison. This causes the anti immune system to first attack the poison and then keep attacking your own protein sustaining the inflammation. However going cold turkey pale seemed to worsen my situation. I think that this had to do with increased nut consumption. Maybe not as much the nuts itself, but more the sulfiet preservative.

B294438548c32ed878905baf6cd1b332

on September 06, 2010
at 07:25 PM

Peter - that's interesting. A lot of times when people change their diet, myself included, we change numerous things all at once. So, it can be tough to tell exactly where the benefits or damage is coming from. If you suspect that nuts are the culprit, I bet you are right. If you keep experimenting with this, keep us updated...I'd like to hear how things turn out.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on November 05, 2010
at 01:59 PM

What does sequence matching prove? The sequence of DNA isn't the only or ultimate driver of gene expression. Two things can have the same genes yet be very different (e.g. liver and eye). This arises from the idea that evolution gene-centered.

2
C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

on September 06, 2010
at 04:52 PM

Read anything by Paul Shepard- a deep ecologist and seminal thinker regarding our true niche, and the actual home of our DNA.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

(4089)

on September 07, 2010
at 01:58 PM

I cannot second this comment highly enough.

1
D13278772f6612432bf53413fad4e7af

(801)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:52 PM

Here's a recent NPR segment on how our shoulder geometry is uniquely suited to spear-hunting.

http://n.pr/9V5F88

1
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on September 06, 2010
at 05:23 PM

I will refer to 2 good posts from Dr. Eades:

are we meat eaters or vegeterians part I

are we meat eaters or vegeterians part II

and take a look at the expensive tissue hypothesis (e.g. here)

Although it is true that our closest relatives, chimanzees, are also known to eat meat, even if they didn't, that would not mean we could not be meat eaters. It would be less likely, maybe, but not improbable.

And another arument is antropology, twofold:

  • archeology: how many artifacts that are found are related to hunting? A lot!
  • present day hunter-gatherers: they hunt, and look at their health!

Good luck with your discussion.

0
D2c2027f4456b61627d5241cc15be67c

(70)

on January 29, 2013
at 04:51 PM

Have you ever been hunting? Tell me that doesn't feel exciting and natural!

P.S. Kill one elk, feed your small family for a year. Go vegan, kill thousands of little critters and ruin habitats to harvest soy and grains. Which is more humane?

0
37cc142fbb183f2758ef723a192e7a9d

(1353)

on January 29, 2013
at 04:40 PM

Yeah we don't have sharp teeth, sharp claws, explosive speed or pouncing ability etc. But we are the only animal that can run on and on without overheating and dying. So we were probably persistence hunters waiting for the animal to run itself to death then eating it. Also over extremely long distances a teenager, a woman, a man in his prime and a 60 year old can all keep up with each other, meaning we probably did it as an entire family group.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-iGZPtWXzE

0
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on September 06, 2010
at 08:17 PM

0
48f9bb680fbc1bc1bd0d9cb09ee10273

(230)

on September 06, 2010
at 08:07 PM

The earliest dated atlatl (a device used to throw spears and darts faster and farther than we can by hand) dates to roughly 400,000 BC ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlatl ), with them being used by homo heidelbergensis ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_heidelbergensis ) who was far more primitive than homo sapiens. So not only we but our direct ancestors have been inventing killing machines for close to 400,000 years. All the other points about us being opportunistic hunters is true too - but we are through and through true natural born killers.

0
8f02d3bfbf05fd94fa1d99a67247a175

on September 06, 2010
at 04:59 PM

Their is evidence suggesting that the high fat diet of humans is what lead to the larger brain; thus we don't sit on mountain sides chewing all day naked....cause = effect, high fat, brain is mostly fat...

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