Press Esc to close
Wednesday 02 September 2015
News updated at 3:30 AM IST
Weather
Max: 29.4°C
Min : 21.1°C
In Bengaluru
Sunny day

Early humans survived on plants

London, Dec 17, 2012, PTI:

Early human ancestors in Central Africa survived on a diet consisting of tropical grasses and sedges between three and 3.5 million years ago, a new study has found.

An international research team led by Oxford University extracted information from the fossilised teeth of three Australopithecus bahrelghazali individuals - the first early hominins excavated at two sites in Chad.

Professor Julia Lee-Thorp with researchers from Chad, France and the US analysed the carbon isotope ratios in the teeth and found the signature of a diet rich in foods derived from C4 plants.

“We found evidence suggesting that early hominins, in central Africa at least, ate a diet mainly composed of tropical grasses and sedges, said Lee-Thorp, a specialist in isotopic analyses of fossil tooth enamel. “No African great apes, including chimpanzees, eat this type of food despite the fact it grows in abundance in tropical and subtropical regions.

“The only notable exception is the savannah baboon which still forages for these types of plants today. We were surprised to discover that early hominins appear to have consumed more than even the baboons,” Lee-Thorp said in a statement.

The discovery demonstrates how early hominins experienced a shift in their diet relatively early, at least in Central Africa.

The finding is significant in signalling how early humans were able to survive in open landscapes with few trees, rather than sticking only to types of terrain containing many trees. This allowed them to move out of the earliest ancestral forests or denser woodlands, and occupy and exploit new environments much farther afield, says the study.

The fossils of the three individuals, ranging between three million and 3.5 million years old, originate from two sites in the Djurab desert.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Jaya Karnataka members holding a candle light vigil to staging dhana to condemn...

Jaya Karnataka members holding a candle light vigil to staging dhana to condemn...

Police men baton charge B P Ed Sangharsh Morcha members...

Police men baton charge B P Ed Sangharsh Morcha members...

NCC boats sail towards Sultan Bathery as a part of river sailing expedition...

NCC boats sail towards Sultan Bathery as a part of river sailing expedition...

women's 2000M Dragon Boat race event at the 4th National Dragon Boat Championship...

women's 2000M Dragon Boat race event at the 4th National Dragon Boat Championship...

Launch of Ciaz Smart Hybrid in New Delhi...

Launch of Ciaz Smart Hybrid in New Delhi...

Iris Maju is crowned as Mrs India World 2015 in Kochi on Tuesday...

Iris Maju is crowned as Mrs India World 2015 in Kochi on Tuesday...

Activist of AASU burn tyres during a protest at Margherita in Tinsukia district...

Activist of AASU burn tyres during a protest at Margherita in Tinsukia district...

Narendra Modi leaves in a chopper after NDA's Parivartan Rally at the Airport...

Narendra Modi leaves in a chopper after NDA's Parivartan Rally at the Airport...

A artist giving final touches to the Ganesha idol ahead of Ganesha Chathurthi Festival...

A artist giving final touches to the Ganesha idol ahead of Ganesha Chathurthi Festival...

Vehicle riders watch as two decorated elephants pass near Shanthala theatre...

Vehicle riders watch as two decorated elephants pass near Shanthala theatre...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523