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Crocodile and Hippopotamus Served as 'Brain Food' for Early Human Ancestors

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posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 01:58 PM
June 10, 2010 — Your mother was right: Fish really is "brain food." And it seems that even pre-humans living as far back as 2 million years ago somehow knew it.

A team of researchers that included Johns Hopkins University geologist Naomi Levin has found that early hominids living in what is now northern Kenya ate a wider variety of foods than previously thought, including fish and aquatic animals such as turtles and crocodiles. Rich in protein and nutrients, these foods may have played a key role in the development of a larger, more human-like brain in our early forebears, which some anthropologists believe happened around 2 million years ago, according to the researchers' study.

"Considering that growing a bigger brain requires many nutrients and calories, anthropologists have posited that adding meat to their diet was key to the development of a larger brain," said Levin, an assistant professor in the Morton K. Blaustein Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins' Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. "Before now, we have never had such a wealth of data that actually demonstrates the wide variety of animal resources that early humans accessed." Levin served as the main geologist on the team, which included scientists from the United States, South Africa, Kenya, Australia and the United Kingdom.

An open-jawed Nile crocodile (crocodylus niloticus) at Lake Panic in South Africa's Kruger National Park.

Interesting find, humans 2 million plus years ago may have been just as intelligent as we are today, proof of that has been lost but we are finding more and more artifacts everyday.

posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 03:12 PM
Evolutionary Link To Modern-Day Obesity, Other Problems

Feb. 16, 2009 — That irresistible craving for a cheeseburger has its roots in the dramatic growth of the human brain and body that resulted from environmental changes some 2 million years ago.

Higher quality, nutritionally dense diets became necessary to fuel the high-energy demands of humans' exceptionally large brains and for developing the first rudimentary hunting and gathering economy.

But the transition from a subsistence to a modern, sedentary lifestyle has created energy imbalances that have increased rapidly -- evolutionarily speaking -- in recent years and now play a major role in obesity.

Interesting, there is always an excuse to eat something we know isn't good for us, somehow I don't think they had bacon cheeseburgers 2 million years ago, on the other hand if it's true that history repests itself maybe they did.

posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 04:44 PM
I wonder if crocs taste like chicken like some other reptiles.

as for cheeseburgers, I wonder if our ancestors in Africa could even eat dairy. I always thought that started with Europeans

posted on Jun, 30 2010 @ 10:37 PM
I always wondered about the evolution of upright posture, lack of body hair, etc. in early hominids. School then taught that it was an adaptation for the Savanna, etc. To me that seemed a bit off, and still didn't make enough sense the way it was explained.

But if you applied the evolution of those traits to people that lived primarily along rivers and lakes, then hominid features make a whole lot more sense. Relatively broad and flat feet and upright posture for wading around waist deep in water and soft mud, more paddle like hands and feet with slightly webbed fingers/toes for actual swimming, more alertness and intelligence to deal with killer crocs and hippos, down-turned nose for dunking one's head under water, less hair and more body fat for being in water, etc. A long history of human settlements and an "instinctive affinity" to be near water features...

Not to mention none of the other large primates species closest to us can swim worth a darn. Even the chimps which have taken to occasional hunting will sink like a rock, so life in the water had to have a role in early human origins and human traits.

All that would go back to primate ancestors that started a fishing practice still in use by people today (noodling, which is catching fish by touch and with bare hands). The practice would make sense especially in the drier seasons when the areas outward into the savanna away from the rivers would have much less food available. Fish are high in protein and calories, and could provide a much richer diet for the effort than hunting and gathering on land alone.

I think the hunting crocs and hippos as mentioned in the article would come in somewhat later development once effective tool making took off. That would be a really big boost to the human diet and further evolution. But proto-humans had to be fishing long before that.

I think it's cool that some scientists have finally looked into this idea, hopefully they'll find much greater evidence of human origins and the missing link between hominid and ape species.

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