3

votes

Hack this Scientific American article - Human Ancestors were nearly all vegetarians

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 25, 2012 at 3:48 AM

Hi all, has anyone read this article?

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/07/23/human-ancestors-were-nearly-all-vegetarians/

I've had a few vegan/vegetarian friends push this under my nose, demanding a rebuttal - any thoughts?

I guess the essence of what they are arguing is that our ape and monkey ancestors mostly ate plants and bugs, and therefore so should we. But they also don't walk and talk like us...due to meat? I feel I'm missing the point somewhere...

Also I get annoyed when authors like this label Paleo as some sort of gross extended meat-fest - for me, it's just as important to talk about what I DON'T eat, as well as what I do. Everyone's 'paleo' diet journey will be different, depending on what their bodies respond well too.

Fe5e3e7c4905c40e112ccf3410453fa2

on February 25, 2014
at 01:39 PM

I don't know about science says, although I have read a lot of research, but I can tell you one thing for sure.. most people that have screwed up their metabolism for some reason do very well repairing it when they eliminate most foods that spike blood sugar and usually they end up eating mostly meat, fish, seafood, eggs (sometimes cheese) and lots of veggies.. I don't know why, but I know this very well from countless examples.. the majority of people that go low carb/paleo (if their metabolism is not that screwed up) end up bettering their health by every measure we have available now.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 25, 2012
at 04:17 PM

@ZombieApocalypseKitten....showering is definitely not paleo unless it is outside in the rain.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 25, 2012
at 04:11 PM

Sunlight is my preferred method of energy consumption.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 25, 2012
at 12:35 PM

At least they won't pester you with the stupid article anymore. The free food will buy their silence.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 25, 2012
at 12:31 PM

Buy your friends a real paleo vegan lunch sometime if you can find one...bark, a chunk of honeycomb with live bees, a dried crabapple or two...while you enjoy the meat of your choice. Maybe they'll get the point about what humans like to eat naturally vs what they'll put up with to avoid starvation. But probably not.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 25, 2012
at 12:28 PM

It isn't an article, it's a blog post.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 25, 2012
at 12:22 PM

Yeah monkeys set the stage for a lot of things...omnivores, greedy, messy...but I've never seen one of them running a barbecue or making tofu.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 25, 2012
at 12:19 PM

Vegetarianism is so 1967. What were you eating in 50,000 BC? Bet it wasn't tofurkey.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2012
at 11:12 AM

Short answer: It's a terrible article with incredible holes. The author is a biologist, but an insect biologist, not someone with any expertise in human evolutionary biology. There are so many errors and distortions in the a article that we essentially gave up picking them all apart - too many.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 25, 2012
at 11:09 AM

Same question, lots of answers here ---> http://paleohacks.com/questions/137719/any-thoughts-on-this-article#axzz21d6jR9oX

8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on July 25, 2012
at 04:40 AM

I only do that in the shower

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 25, 2012
at 04:06 AM

I personally only ingest liquids through osmosis.

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9 Answers

8
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 25, 2012
at 03:59 AM

The author goes back 5-15 million years bud leaves out our most recent ancestors. Hell, if we go back far enough, we were all single-celled bacteria, but that doesn't mean we live like that now. We have to also look at what differentiates us from our ancestors. We acquired a smaller gut and a bigger brain. There is nothing in the human body to point to us being a vegetarian animal. Our bodies evolved to eat meat. Sure there were groups that had to subsist on a mostly vegetarian diet, but by and far, it was meat that set us apart. We are at the top of the evolutionary tree because of our ability to hunt.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 25, 2012
at 04:06 AM

I personally only ingest liquids through osmosis.

8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on July 25, 2012
at 04:40 AM

I only do that in the shower

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 25, 2012
at 12:19 PM

Vegetarianism is so 1967. What were you eating in 50,000 BC? Bet it wasn't tofurkey.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 25, 2012
at 04:11 PM

Sunlight is my preferred method of energy consumption.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 25, 2012
at 04:17 PM

@ZombieApocalypseKitten....showering is definitely not paleo unless it is outside in the rain.

6
26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on July 25, 2012
at 03:55 AM

Apes will also maw the shit out of people- mind you. That being said, of course we can live as vegetarians. Do we have to? Do we want to? Do you crave meat? Yes? Eat it. Don't crave it? Don't eat it. Monkeys will eat your face, though, no joke :)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 25, 2012
at 12:22 PM

Yeah monkeys set the stage for a lot of things...omnivores, greedy, messy...but I've never seen one of them running a barbecue or making tofu.

2
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on July 25, 2012
at 04:09 PM

Really I don't care. I know that I look, feel, and perform better eating this way than I did when I was eating SAD. I also look, feel, and perform better than most of the vegetarians that I know. So I don't care what paleo man ate, I care what's good for me. You look to paleo man to form hypotheses and then test them and see what work. If my hypothesis is that paleo man ate a lot of meat from hunting, and I eat a lot of meat and feel good, that's great! If my hypothesis is that paleo man was a vegetarian, and I become a vegetarian and waste away to nothing, then that's bad. It doesn't matter what paleo man really did, what matters is how it makes me (you!) feel when you eat this way.

Also, whether or not paleo man had a lot of meat or mostly vegetables misses the big point: CUTTING OUT THE GRAINS! That's 90% of the benefit people get from the paleo diet. It really shouldn't be a meat eater - vegetarian holy war.

2
1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on July 25, 2012
at 03:10 PM

You know, this guy actually wrote a fantastically interesting book that I highly recommend. His point--which granted, could be refined a bit because there's a lot of meandering--is really just pointing out that we have evolved to be able to eat lots of different things, and questioning why the paleolithic diet focuses on humanoid group at one particular juncture of human history.

My guess is that an editor stuck the title and subhead on for click value.

Of course vegetarians/vegans will take this as a call to stop eating meat/animal protein. In fact, the writer says nothing of the kind. One of the things that I really appreciated about his book was that he was so open-minded; he takes the long view. I view this article as more of a musing, and less of a directive. Tell your veggie friends that they also need to take the long view. And tell your vegan friends to look at what he says about the mutation to digest milk.

2
A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6

(340)

on July 25, 2012
at 04:34 AM

Eating meat and also cooking it were evolutionary steps taken by our ancestors. To be honest, it was probably a sacrifice of some nutritional quality and density for the sake of other benefits. Nonetheless, these adaptations shaped who we are today.

Here are a couple resources from Born to Barbecue (personal plug):

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/07/30/128877628/meat-fire-and-the-evolution-of-man http://www.carnivoresdilemma.net/weblog/fire-and-meat.html

More at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Born-to-Barbecue/123737821041085?ref=hl

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on July 25, 2012
at 08:05 PM

He doesn't discuss cooking, nor does he bother explaining the rather large difference between our guts and other primates (they've got more to better process all those plants). He doesn't do a good job at all- his first point is we really don't know, which is somehow supposed to segue into eating vegetarian + insects, but it doesn't. If you happened to live near the giant buffalo herd, you ate you some buffalo. If you were in the tropics, you had all sorts of fruity goodness. Bugs are everywhere, and I bet some taste better than others.

I think a high schooler with an afternoon's worth of googling could have written a better article, especially if it was a smart high schooler with no political agenda.

0
8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on February 26, 2014
at 12:57 AM

The easiest, most obvious rebuttal to this is that they are talking about animals with smaller brains, pre-humans. Our larger brains require a great deal of fats - animal fats, omega-3, saturated, for the mylenation in our brains. Not to mention choline for memory, and alertness (also animal derived). Every wondered why vegans were so floaty, and irrational?

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 25, 2012
at 07:51 PM

**SCIENCE says our ancestors were likely VEGETARIAN OPPORTUNISTS WHO DABBLED IN MEAT WHEN THEY COULD FIND IT.

MARK SISSON AND ANTHONY COLPO ARE SCIENTIFICALLY ILLITERATE FRAUDS.

RAZZWELL.BLOGSPOT.COM

http://razzwell.blogspot.com

Fe5e3e7c4905c40e112ccf3410453fa2

on February 25, 2014
at 01:39 PM

I don't know about science says, although I have read a lot of research, but I can tell you one thing for sure.. most people that have screwed up their metabolism for some reason do very well repairing it when they eliminate most foods that spike blood sugar and usually they end up eating mostly meat, fish, seafood, eggs (sometimes cheese) and lots of veggies.. I don't know why, but I know this very well from countless examples.. the majority of people that go low carb/paleo (if their metabolism is not that screwed up) end up bettering their health by every measure we have available now.

0
Cfe88f41d0f90c6355a58eddbe78c9f8

on July 25, 2012
at 08:01 AM

I eat more vegetables now than I ever have before. I'd say I agree with the article--a paleo diet should be very high in vegetables.

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