Did the human diet evolve?

Dmasterman
atheist
Posts: 58
Joined: 2010-01-01
User is offlineOffline
Did the human diet evolve?

a couple of days ago I was speaking with some vegans who were explaining something to me that was rather interesting. They said that humans never actually ate meat in our more primal stages of life. Rather we ate more like a chimpanzee, from fruits, vegetables (possibly ants) and water. It was only until later when humans began trading meat there was a profitable market and thus we have Mcdonalds and other meat industries. They further went on by saying that our teeth is the greatest evidence of this as our teeth do not have large fangs like a lion or wolf or other predatory animals. When I attempted to mention that apes actually do have long fangs (Or canines), they simply stated that because apes don't eat meat, humans evolved to which we wouldn't need fangs, which is why our teeth look like so today. So, by humans eating meat we are counter-evolving or going against our natural diet.

 

So here's my questions

Was meat ever in our human diet in earlier days of life?




Is it true the reason our teeth do not resembles fangs of a predator is because we actually are not meat eaters?

IF humans never did eat meat before, does that mean we have evolved to eat meat? Or is it simply just a bad diet we are taking upon ourselves?


I just want to find some truth about this. Thanks :]

 


luca
atheist
Posts: 400
Joined: 2011-02-21
User is offlineOffline
in hd

I cannot be of much help now, but I don't remember the story goes like that. You can read the Rational Content->RRS Authors->Hambydammit blog, you can search on wiki, you can search on academic journals or on google scholar... That's what I can do for now.

 


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
Call on me!!!!    Just

Call on me!!!! 

 

Just finished finals including - Anthropology 101, Introduction to Physical Anthropology.

Tah-Dah!

So, do we have evidence people ate meat?  We have bones with stone tool marks on them and bones obviously broken to get at the marrow.  We know it is stone tools and not teeth because of the shape, size, and location of the marks.  Leopards and other toothy predators leave two parallel cuts that match the size and shape of their fangs.  Here are some articles and pictures.

http://archaeology.about.com/b/2010/08/11/stone-tools-and-afarensis.htm

 

This article is much more technical, if you want.  http://umanitoba.academia.edu/HaskelGreenfield/Papers/334114/Slicing_cut_marks_on_animal_bones_diagnostics_for_identifying_stone_t...

Chimps are vegetarians?  I don't think so.  Here is a youtube video about chimps - warning - graphic images of a band of chimps pulling apart a monkey and eating it are in this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpYViR9MqrU

 

 

 

 

Search on chimpanzees hunting monkeys for more videos.  Send links to your vegan friends.

So we have evidence from bones that people ate meat, and current evidence of chimps who hunt and eat meat.  What is with the teeth?

Contrary to what the raw food vegan types will tell you, it is from cooking.  We have solid evidence that Homo erectus had control of fire 400,000 years ago and burned bones earlier than that.  Humans have been cooking their food long enough, it has changed the shape and size of our jaw and teeth. 

It has also changed the shape and size of our chewing muscles.  Because we eat mostly cooked food, we do not need large chewing muscles.  Compare Australopithecus robustus, A. africanus, and early Homo skulls.  Robustus has huge zygomatic arch (also called process) and a distinctive sagittal crest, africanus smaller, and Homo habilis has a skull shaped much like a modern human if over all a lot smaller.  This is the bone that makes an arch over the jaw muscles on the skull just below our cheek bones.  Modern humans have a very small arch and no sagittal crest along the top of the skull for the jaw muscles to attach to. 

Therefore, we have eaten cooked, soft foods long enough to change the shape and size of our jaw, zygomatic arch, sagittal crest, and teeth. 

Human brains are expensive caloric/energy wise.  Because our brains are so much larger than is expected for our overall size compared to other mammals, we need a lot more calories per pound.  Approximately 25% of the calories you consume are exclusively used to fuel your brain.  If you are a hunter gatherer, the only way to do this is by hunting meat and preferably the fat ones.  Fat is the most calorie dense of all foods.  We are spoiled in our modern world.  It is possible to get enough calories to support our brains without having to hunt or even eat meat.  Our ancestors didn't have supermarkets.

Humans are omnivores which means we will eat that which does not outright kill us including meat, and we are adapted to eating cooked foods.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10725
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Vegans are the embodiment of

Vegans are the embodiment of hypocrisy and deception. In many ways its like religion, except all of religion isn't necessarily in contradiction with reality like veganism is.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


ex-minister
atheistHigh Level ModeratorSilver Member
ex-minister's picture
Posts: 1708
Joined: 2010-01-29
User is offlineOffline
Welcome back CJWhat about

Welcome back CJ

What about our appendix? Doesn't it show somewhere back a common ancestor was plant eating?

Vaset, what did they do to you?

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10725
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
For 15+ years they've tried

For 15+ years they've tried to force me and everyone else to guve up the awesomeness of meat.

What they don't realise is that I'll eat them before I give up meat. Smiling

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


ex-minister
atheistHigh Level ModeratorSilver Member
ex-minister's picture
Posts: 1708
Joined: 2010-01-29
User is offlineOffline
How did they force you? Is

How did they force you? Is this friends, family or government?


Will they have to rip that t-bone from your cold dead hands? Smiling

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10725
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Key word is tried. They

Key word is tried. They haven't actually had a noticeable effect as yet.

And yes, after crawling over dozens of their own fallen who fainted at the sight of me carving up whatever had happened to look tasty. Eye-wink

One can always hope for a few converts if there's plenty to share and the bbq is running...

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
ex-minister wrote:Welcome

ex-minister wrote:

Welcome back CJ

What about our appendix? Doesn't it show somewhere back a common ancestor was plant eating?

Vaset, what did they do to you?

 

Since we were concentrating on ancient stone tools and fossils, we didn't discuss soft tissue very much.  It is sometimes preserved, but not in the million+ year old fossils - of the ones we have found so far anyway. 

But according to this website, it is not useless or vestigial as we may have been taught in high school biology.  Instead, it has very active functions for our immune system.

http://coloncancer.about.com/od/glossaries/g/Appendix.htm

But yes, our family tree includes many cousins that were strictly vegetarian, some of whom might be direct ancestors.  Still too many different fossils to determine which ones were our ancestors and which were cousins.  But it is not disputed that human ancestors cooked various grains and meat, that they scavenged meat before they hunted it (we were top scavengers at one time), and that our closest living primate relatives also eat meat when they can.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
Along the same lines, here's

Along the same lines, here's an interesting article about the cheese burger.  

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/2011/12/07/the-impracticality-of-a-cheeseburger/

Article wrote:

Further reflection revealed that it’s quite impractical—nearly impossible—to make a cheeseburger from scratch. Tomatoes are in season in the late summer. Lettuce is in season in spring and fall. Large mammals are slaughtered in early winter. The process of making such a burger would take nearly a year, and would inherently involve omitting some core cheeseburger ingredients. It would be wildly expensive—requiring a trio of cows—and demand many acres of land. There’s just no sense in it.

I am a meat eater BTW, just to clear that up, I love me a good cheese burger.  I just thought it was interesting to know.

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:For 15+ years

Vastet wrote:
For 15+ years they've tried to force me and everyone else to guve up the awesomeness of meat. What they don't realise is that I'll eat them before I give up meat. Smiling

I grew up in Romania, until I immigrated to Canada at 15 I have not met a vegetarian, let a lone a vegan.  I have heard of them but never actually spoken with one.  The reality is that in an underdeveloped country, a vegetarian would starve to death.  We grew 50% of the stuff we ate, and the only things that you could find to buy was stuff that was in season.  Sometimes I still walk into a supermarket and shake my head at all the fresh fruit you could buy.  Good luck getting a healthy diet without meat.  Vegans are the epitome of a spoiled westerner.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu wrote:Vastet wrote:For

Ktulu wrote:

Vastet wrote:
For 15+ years they've tried to force me and everyone else to guve up the awesomeness of meat. What they don't realise is that I'll eat them before I give up meat. Smiling

I grew up in Romania, until I immigrated to Canada at 15 I have not met a vegetarian, let a lone a vegan.  I have heard of them but never actually spoken with one.  The reality is that in an underdeveloped country, a vegetarian would starve to death.  We grew 50% of the stuff we ate, and the only things that you could find to buy was stuff that was in season.  Sometimes I still walk into a supermarket and shake my head at all the fresh fruit you could buy.  Good luck getting a healthy diet without meat.  Vegans are the epitome of a spoiled westerner.

 

Vegans come out of the woodwork around here.  I just shake my head at their abysmal ignorance.  They even try to sell vegetarian free range (not caged) chickens!  I sometimes mess with them telling the youngsters that if they haven't raised chickens, they wouldn't know that free range chickens are never voluntarily vegetarian.  They eat snails, snakes, rats and even each other.  The children are always disgusted and astonished.  Too many Walt Disney movies with cute talking animal characters with too big eyes.

Sigh, a vegan is the ultimate spoiled westerner.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Watcher
atheist
Posts: 2326
Joined: 2007-07-10
User is offlineOffline
Dmasterman wrote:a couple of

Dmasterman wrote:

a couple of days ago I was speaking with some vegans who were explaining something to me that was rather interesting. They said that humans never actually ate meat in our more primal stages of life. Rather we ate more like a chimpanzee, from fruits, vegetables (possibly ants) and water. It was only until later when humans began trading meat there was a profitable market and thus we have Mcdonalds and other meat industries. They further went on by saying that our teeth is the greatest evidence of this as our teeth do not have large fangs like a lion or wolf or other predatory animals. When I attempted to mention that apes actually do have long fangs (Or canines), they simply stated that because apes don't eat meat, humans evolved to which we wouldn't need fangs, which is why our teeth look like so today. So, by humans eating meat we are counter-evolving or going against our natural diet.

So here's my questions

Was meat ever in our human diet in earlier days of life?

Wow.  Ok.

Well CJ covered a lot of good information about this already.  So I'm just going to throw in my own personal way of answering here.

The Vegans view is pretty much the opposite of reality.

Yes, our distant ancestors were much more vegetarian that we are now.  But the simple fact is that the precursors to Homo sapiens started to eat meat.  This practice contributed to the evolution of Homo sapiens.  We would have never been able to afford our massive brains if Homo habilis and later Homo erectus did not start eating meat.  We probably wouldn't even have evolved enough intelligence to be able to converse with one another as we currently do.  Grammar and syntax wouldn't exist for us.

Homo sapiens has always eaten meat.  Our species has never never never been vegetarian in our dietary habits.

Is being a vegetarian now that we have such an abundance of access to calorie rich vegetable matter healthier?

It probably is.  I'll admit that.  But it's defying all precendence in our evolutionary existence as a species.  For myself, I'll take the chance and keep eating meat.

In March my father is having a 700 lb heifer butchered for me and my family to gorge on.  And it's going to be goooood.

 

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci