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Human Ancestors Ate Bark—Food in Teeth Hints at Chimplike Origins

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posted on Jun, 27 2012 @ 08:33 PM
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Ker Than
for National Geographic News
Published June 27, 2012

Fossil find shows our forebears ate, and lived, experimentally, experts say.



Chew on this: Bits of food stuck in the two-million-year-old teeth of a human ancestor suggest some of our forebears ate tree bark, a new study says.

A first ever find for early human ancestors, the bark evidence hints at a woodsier, more chimplike lifestyle for the Australopithecus sediba species. Other so-called hominins alive at the time are thought to have dined mostly on savanna grasses.


A. sediba was identified from stunningly preserved fossils of a female and a young male discovered in a South African cave in 2008 by scientists led by paleoanthropologist and National Geographic Society grantee Lee Berger.





"We think these two individuals fell down a sinkhole ... and were quickly covered in very fine-grained sediment that created an environment of very little oxygen," explained Amanda Henry, lead author of the new study.



"So there wasn't a lot whole lot of bacteria or decomposition, and there certainly wasn't any interaction with the air," said Henry, a paleobiologist at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.


That airless entombment resulted in a rare state of preservation—to the point that even microscopic, fossilized particles of plant tissue remain trapped in dental plaque.



The findings indicate that A. sediba preferred to feed in more enclosed, woodland environments, much like modern-day chimpanzees and gorillas—which also happen to eat bark.

They have a new way of studying and testing the diets of age old human ancestors to the extent that they are going to do more tests on earlier found humans.


Study author Henry added that, now that her team has proven the technique with A. sediba, she wants to use it to study the diets of other early hominins—and she's not wasting any time.

"I'm going to South Africa this summer to start collecting some of that data," she said.


news.nationalgeographic.com...


I wish I could go with her and her team. I know it's painstaking work, but well worth it.

1.8 million years ago...... we sure have come a long way, baby!!

Great work by the team......







[ETA: I did a search and unless it's not working right, nothing showed up at all, but delete if necessary]
edit on 27-6-2012 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 27 2012 @ 08:51 PM
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You learn to eat bark in survival training in the military. So this really isn't that big of a surprise.



posted on Jun, 27 2012 @ 08:57 PM
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I love bark. It is delicious on oatmeal and cookies. Not bad on vanila ice cream too.



posted on Jun, 27 2012 @ 08:58 PM
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There is also a theory that they slept in trees to keep from predators sneaking up on them.
They may have found themselves trapped up trees a lot by animals below so maybe they ate tree bark for sustenance while they waited it out.



posted on Jun, 27 2012 @ 09:30 PM
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Originally posted by TheLieWeLive
There is also a theory that they slept in trees to keep from predators sneaking up on them.
They may have found themselves trapped up trees a lot by animals below so maybe they ate tree bark for sustenance while they waited it out.
Boy, I know one time I was stuck up in my attic because I thought a bear was in my house. I had to eat to survive and thought I had found some cotton candy up there. Well I ate and I ate, you know, to get my energy up to fight the bear.
Later I found out the cotton candy was really insulation and the bear was really my dad. But that 2 minutes I spent in that attic eating cotton candy and hiding from that bear will always be the most exciting thing to ever happen to me!



posted on Jun, 27 2012 @ 09:37 PM
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Originally posted by buster2010
You learn to eat bark in survival training in the military. So this really isn't that big of a surprise.


It is for those that dine regularly at the local McDonalds......

Hey, I got it......

New weight loss regime ...... eat bark 3 times daily and loose those inches!!!!

Good for the complexion too, I hear....
edit on 27-6-2012 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 27 2012 @ 09:41 PM
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Originally posted by Numbers33four
I love bark. It is delicious on oatmeal and cookies. Not bad on vanila ice cream too.


Low in calories, too..... add a pinch to coffee or tea. mmmm good...



posted on Jun, 27 2012 @ 09:57 PM
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reply to post by grubblesnert
 


It's a good thing you didn't find the little mints or the chocolate sprinkles. (mothballs and rat turds)



posted on Jun, 28 2012 @ 12:48 AM
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Originally posted by grubblesnert

Originally posted by TheLieWeLive
There is also a theory that they slept in trees to keep from predators sneaking up on them.
They may have found themselves trapped up trees a lot by animals below so maybe they ate tree bark for sustenance while they waited it out.
Boy, I know one time I was stuck up in my attic because I thought a bear was in my house. I had to eat to survive and thought I had found some cotton candy up there. Well I ate and I ate, you know, to get my energy up to fight the bear.
Later I found out the cotton candy was really insulation and the bear was really my dad. But that 2 minutes I spent in that attic eating cotton candy and hiding from that bear will always be the most exciting thing to ever happen to me!


I really hope you are kidding. Insulation could cause so many health issues when you are older, such as cancer throughout your body.



posted on Jun, 28 2012 @ 01:32 AM
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That is one lucky find, but that is what paleoarchaeology is about - determination, skill and a lot of luck.

Good to know the salad bar was open so many years ago



posted on Jun, 28 2012 @ 02:20 AM
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There is a lot of different barks that we use today. How many of you did not already know that cinnamon is bark. Before aspirin native Americans used white birch bark. There are many other examples of bark that we still eat today. No surprise here that people were eating it a long time ago.



posted on Jun, 28 2012 @ 10:07 AM
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isnt that what they think the appendix was for?

being able to survive off grass and bark would be great, get caught in a survival situation and your food supply would be huge.



posted on Jun, 28 2012 @ 03:00 PM
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Originally posted by A-Dub
isnt that what they think the appendix was for?

being able to survive off grass and bark would be great, get caught in a survival situation and your food supply would be huge.


Appendix was and is for a repository for good bacteria. Don't let them tell you that there is no use for it in modern humans. If you get real sick and it clears out your intestine you have to have a way to reseed the bacteria. That is what the appendix is for. It stores good bacteria for after such problems. Doctors are even starting to tell people that they will recover better and faster after surgery if you have functioning appendix.



posted on Jun, 28 2012 @ 03:14 PM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04

Originally posted by grubblesnert

Originally posted by TheLieWeLive
There is also a theory that they slept in trees to keep from predators sneaking up on them.
They may have found themselves trapped up trees a lot by animals below so maybe they ate tree bark for sustenance while they waited it out.
Boy, I know one time I was stuck up in my attic because I thought a bear was in my house. I had to eat to survive and thought I had found some cotton candy up there. Well I ate and I ate, you know, to get my energy up to fight the bear.
Later I found out the cotton candy was really insulation and the bear was really my dad. But that 2 minutes I spent in that attic eating cotton candy and hiding from that bear will always be the most exciting thing to ever happen to me!


I really hope you are kidding. Insulation could cause so many health issues when you are older, such as cancer throughout your body.
Yeah! I hope I was kidding too.......I dont know what I would if I found out my dad was a real bear!



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