The exploitation of rabbits for food and pelts by last interglacial Neandertals
Pelletier et al.
Quaternary science reviews, 2019
The high frequency of rabbits in the Pié Lombard Mousterian assemblage, comprising at least 225 individuals, is unique for this period and probably reflects the location and function of the rock-shelter. The capture of such a hight number of this small mammal potentially required sophisticated acquisition techniques formerly known only from Upper Palaeolithic contexts.
Cooking shapes the structure and function of the gut microbiome
Carmody et al.
Exceptionally high δ15N values in collagen single amino acids confirm Neandertals as high-trophic level carnivores
How carnivorous are we? The implication for protein consumption
Journal of evolution and health, 2019
A drastic decline in terrestrial mammals took place from approximately 500 kgs at the beginning of the Pleistocene2.5 million years ago to about 10 kgs today.
Although we are undoubtedly omnivores, the biologic evidence that was presented here claims to show that we evolved, quite early in our evolution as the genus Homo, to become highly carnivorous and that we continue to retain a biologic adaptation to carnivory. This high level of carnivory means that during a large part of our evolution our diet was high in protein besides being high in fat.
“Neanderthals, vitamin C, and scurvy”
John D. Speth.
Quaternary International, 2018
As a consequence, common methods of preparing meat for storage and consumption (e.g., drying, roasting, boiling) may lead to significant loss of vitamin C. There are two effective methods of minimizing such loss: (1) eating meat raw (fresh or frozen); and (2) eating the meat after it has been putrefied. Putrefaction has distinct advantages that make it a common, if not essential, way of preparing and preserving meat among northern latitude foragers and, for the same reasons, very likely also among Paleolithic foragers in the colder climes of Pleistocene Eurasia. Putrefaction “pre-digests” the meat (including the organs), making it much less costly to ingest and metabolize than raw meat; and it lowers the pH, greatly increasing the stability of vitamin C. These observations offer insights into critical nutritional constraints that likely had to be addressed by Neanderthals and later hominins in any context where their diet was heavily meat-based for a substantial part of the year.
John D. Speth
If such food practices were in fact widespread during the mid- to late Pleistocene, they may help account for aspects of the archaeological record that are presently difficult to comprehend, such as the ‘on again, off again’ evidence for fire use (and hence cooking) during the Eurasian Middle Paleolithic. Putrefaction also may alter the isotopic composi-tion of the diet. As meat and fish decompose, a variety of volatile compounds are produced, including ammonia. Loss of NH3, along with lesser amounts of two other nitrogenous gases—cadaverine and putrescine—would very likely leave rotted meat and fish enriched in 15N by comparison to the isotopic composition of these foods in their fresh state. Such enrichment may have contributed to the elevated values seen in many Neanderthals, values that are widely taken as prima facie evidence of Neanderthal’s status as a ‘top predator.’ Finally, if Paleolithic foragers relied upon putrefaction to prepare and store meat, archaeologists may have to rethink the way they interpret a number of widely used taphonomic signatures, including the number and distribution of cutmarks, the extent of carnivore damage, the incidence of burning on both animal bones and stone tools, and the frequency and scale of hearths, ash lenses, and other features of combustion.
Evidence for chronic omega-3 fatty acids and ascorbic acid deficiency in Palaeolithic hominins in Europe at the emergence of cannibalism
Quaternary science revue, 2017
hominins at the M/UP transition had a deﬁcit of both omega-3 fatty acids and ascorbic acid. Data on human organs summarized here are also conclusive: these contain such nutrients in amounts much higher than reached in the corresponding mammal organs consumed, and thus could have been alternative sources of those nutrients for Palaeolithic hominins. Therefore, nutritional cannibalism detected at such times could have had the function of alleviating these deﬁcits. The evolutionary advantages gained by the consumption of the various omega-3 fatty acids of human origin are also discussed.
Même avec une « much higer contribution » des plantes, les produits animaux restent à 35%, on mange tout dans l’animal, et il se peut que la contribution des insectes soit sous-estimée.
Current views on hunter‐gatherer nutrition and the evolution of the human diet
Alyssa Crittenden, Stephanie Schnorr
America journal of physical anthropology, 2017
These sources suggest that plants constitute a much higher contribution to the diet, approximately 65%, with animal products making up the remaining 35% (Eaton, Shostak, & Konner, 1988). In addition, a more recent analysis by Frank Marlowe (Marlowe, 2005; and also summarized in relation to the Hadza of Tanzania in his 2010 book, The Hadza) suggests that the median diet of warm‐climate foragers is composed of 53% gathered plant foods, 26% hunted foods, and 21% fished foods.[…]
In addition, meat consumed by foraging populations is not limited to large game muscle tissue and extends to all edible portions of the carcass—inclusive of organs, bone marrow, and sometimes even the contents of the gastrointestinal tract of the animal […] Furthermore, many populations also consume variable quantities of insects, which until quite recently were often discarded or underestimated.
Neandertal versus Modern Human Dietary Responses to Climatic Fluctuation
Sireen El Zaatari et al.
PLOS One, 2016
Specifically, whereas the Neandertals altered their diets in response to changing paleoecological conditions, the diets of Upper Paleolithic humans seem to have been less affected by slight changes in vegetation/climatic conditions but were linked to changes in their technological complexes. The results of this study also indicate differences in resource exploitation strategies between these two hominin groups. We argue that these differences in subsistence strategies, if they had already been established at the time of the first contact between these two hominin taxa, may have given modern humans an advantage over the Neandertals, and may have contributed to the persistence of our species despite habitat-related changes in food availabilities associated with climate fluctuations.
Bocherens et al., 2015
Recent elephant-carcass utilization as a basis for interpreting mammoth exploitation
How do you kill 86 mammoths? Taphonomic investigations of mammoth megasites
Pat Shipman, 2014
« The large number of individual mammoths and the scarcity of carnivore toothmarks and gnawing suggest a new ability to retain kill mammoths and control of carcasses. Age profiles of such mammoth-dominated sites with a large minimum number of individuals differ statistically at the p < 0.01 level from age profiles of Loxodonta africana populations that died of either attritional or catastrophic causes. However, age profiles from some mammoth sites exhibit a chain of linked resemblances with each other through time and space, suggesting the transmission of behavioral or technological innovation. I hypothesize that this innovation may have been facilitated by an early attempted domestication of dogs, as indicated by a group of genetically and morphologically distinct large canids which first appear in archaeological sites at about 32 ka B.P. »
J. Yravedra et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science, 2012.
Earliest Known Use of Marine Resources by Neanderthals
Cortes-Sanchez et al.
PLOS One, 2011
We conclude that described use of shellfish resources by Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) in Southern Spain started ∼150 ka and were almost contemporaneous to Pinnacle Point (South Africa), when shellfishing is first documented in archaic modern humans.
Human consumption of tortoises at Level IV of Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain)
Ruth Blasco, 2008
Level IV of Bolomor Cave has provided sufficient evidence to show proof of human consumption of tortoises in Later Middle Pleistocene. The use of tortoises for food appears to be quite common among the hominids that occupied the cave at Level IV. Although some exceptions do exist, these human groups follow specific patterns to process the tortoises. These patterns have been observed in the systematic use of fire to consume the nutrients from these animals. Thus, the consumption sequence of these small prey starts with them being cooked. Habitually, the tortoises are placed into the fire upside down and are roasted in its shell.
Frank w. Marlowe
Evolutionary anthropology, 2005
When applied to the Palaeolithic-Neolithic transition, the isotopes broadly showa diet rich in protein at the end of the glacial period, a diversification, with emphasis on fish resources during the Mesolithic, and an impoverishment during the
Neolithic.[…]the amount of meat eaten decreased to about 10-20% of the Upper Palaeolithic optimum.
Loren Cordain et al., 2000
Our analysis showed that whenever and wherever it was ecologically possible, hunter-gatherers consumed high amounts (45–65% of energy) of animal food. Most (73%) of the worldwide hunter-gatherer societies derived >50% (≥56–65% of energy) of their subsistence from animal foods, whereas only 14% of these societies derived >50% (≥56–65% of energy) of their subsistence from gathered plant foods. This high reliance on animal-based foods coupled with the relatively low carbohydrate content of wild plant foods produces universally characteristic macronutrient consumption ratios in which protein is elevated (19–35% of energy) at the expense of carbohydrates (22–40% of energy).
Dietary lean red meat and human evolution
European journal of nutrition, 2000
In our own studies, we have shown evidence that diets high in lean red meat can actually lower plasma cholesterol, contribute significantly to tissue omega-3 fatty acid and provide a good source of iron, zinc and vitamin B12. A study of human and pre-human diet history shows that for a period of at least 2 million years the human ancestral line had been consuming increasing quantities of meat. During that time, evolutionary selection was in action, adapting our genetic make up and hence our physiological features to a diet high in lean meat. This meat was wild game meat, low in total and saturated fat and relatively rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
Compter et mesurer les os animaux. Pour une histoire de l’élevage et de l’alimentation en Europe de l’Antiquité aux Temps Modernes
Histoire et mesure, 1995
Traditional diet and food preferences of Australian Aboriginal hunter-gatherers
Alimentation carnée au début du moyen-âge
Why hunters gather: optimal foraging and the Aché of eastern Paraguay
Kristen Hawkes, Kim Hill, James F. O’Connel, 1982.
La viande. Ravitaillement et consommation à Carpentras au XVe siècle
Annales d’économie, sociétés et civilisation, 1969
L’aménorrhée de famine (XVIIe-XXe siècles)
Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie
Annales d’économie, sociétés et civilisation, 1969