Anthropologists say meat consumption ‘made us human’
- October 9, 2012
- Kate Carey
Humans have been eating meat regularly for 1.5 Million years according to new research by anthropologists, based around the discovery of a human skull in Tanzania, east Africa. Despite previous reports that humans were occasional meat-eaters, new research indicates that regular meat consumption was responsible for humans evolving larger brains.
One of the scientists responsible for the discovery, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver, Charles Musiba Ph. D., said that the discovery showed that humans were actively hunting and eating meat over a million years ago.
The skull fragments found in Tanzania reportedly demonstrated signs of porotic hyperostosis, directly associated with anemia. The report stated that the presence of anemia had come on quickly when meat was suddenly removed from the diet.
“The presence of anemia-induced porotic hyperostosis…indicates indirectly that by at least the early Pleistocene meat had become so essential to proper hominin functioning that its paucity or lack led to deleterious pathological conditions.” the study said.
The skull, which belonged to a two-year old, was lacking B12 and B9 – key vitamins obtained from meat consumption. Alternatively, if the mother was still breast-feeding, it is possible that the mother lacked meat and B vitamins in her diet.
The study reported that meat eating was associated with human brain development, providing the example of chimpanzees, the less-carnivorous cousins of humans. Dr Musiba said that the study demonstrated a direct correlation between brain development and a high-protein diet.