Did diet give humans evolutionary edge over Neanderthals?
Paleo-diet may be the latest thing, but the original version favoured byNeanderthals may have contributed to their extinction.
Washington: Paleo-diet may be the latest thing, but the original version favoured byNeanderthals may have contributed to their extinction.
When fluctuating climates in the Ice Age altered habitats, modern humans may have adapted their diets in a different way than Neandertals, according to a study by Sireen El Zaatari of the University of TÃ¼bingen, Germany, and colleagues.
The Neandertal lineage survived for hundreds of thousands of years despite the severe temperature fluctuations of the Ice Age. The reasons for their decline around 40 thousand years ago remain unclear.
The authors investigated the possible influence of dietary strategies using the fossilized molars of 52 Neandertals and Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens (modern humans).
They analysed the type and degree of microwear on the teeth to attempt to draw conclusions about diet type and to establish a relationship with prevalent climactic conditions.
They found that as the climate fluctuated and habitats altered, Neandertals may have adapted their diet to the resources that were most readily available, eating mainly meat when in open, cold steppe environments, and supplementing their diet with more plants, seeds, and nuts when in forested landscapes.