Overview/ Diet and Human Evolution" data-pin-do="buttonBookmark">
SALAD DAYS: Australopithecus afarensis, a human ancestor, forages for plant foods in an African woodland some 3.5 million years ago.
Overview/ Diet and Human Evolution Image: JOHN GURCHE
We humans are strange primates.
We walk on two legs, carry around enormous brains and have colonized every corner of the globe. Anthropologists and biologists have long sought to understand how our lineage came to differ so profoundly from the primate norm in these ways, and over the years all manner of hypotheses aimed at explaining each of these oddities have been put forth. But a growing body of evidence indicates that these miscellaneous quirks of humanity in fact have a common thread: they are largely the result of natural selection acting to maximize dietary quality and foraging efficiency. Changes in food availability over time, it seems, strongly influenced our hominid ancestors. Thus, in an evolutionary sense, we are very much what we ate.
This article was originally published with the title Food for Thought.