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Latest Matt Sponheimer Stories

Four New Studies Show Early Humans Had A Diet Rich In Grass
2013-06-04 11:43:40

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Four new studies have taken a new look at the diets of our ancestors and have found their behavior was a “game changer” for early humans some 3.5 million years ago. An ape-like diet that included grasses and sedges paved the way for a diet rich in grains, meats and dairy from grazing animals. In the first of the four studies, researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder conducted high-tech tests on tooth enamel...

New Technologies Challenge Old Ideas About Early Hominid Diets
2011-10-14 07:11:32

New assessments by researchers using the latest high-tech tools to study the diets of early hominids are challenging long-held assumptions about what our ancestors ate, says a study by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Arkansas. By analyzing microscopic pits and scratches on hominid teeth, as well as stable isotopes of carbon found in teeth, researchers are getting a very different picture of the diet habitats of early hominids than that painted by the physical...

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2011-05-03 06:00:00

New research finds that the ancient pre-human known as "Nutcracker Man" did not dine on nuts after all, but instead dined on large quantities of grasses and sedges -- a discovery that upsets conventional wisdom about the diet of early humans. "It most likely was eating grass, and most definitely was not cracking nuts," said University of Utah geochemist Thure Cerling, lead author of the study. The "Nutcracker Man", or Paranthropus boisei, is an ancient human relative that roamed the African...

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2009-02-13 09:49:53

Dazzling new scientific techniques are allowing archaeologists to track the movements and menus of extinct hominids through the seasons and years as they ate their way across the African landscape, helping to illuminate the evolution of human diets. Piecing together relationships between the diets of hominids several million years ago to that of early and modern humans is allowing scientists to see how diet relates to the evolution of cognitive abilities, social structures, locomotion and...

2008-04-30 16:39:41

An early human with a big mouth made for chomping strangely preferred to eat soft, squishy fruits, new dental analyses suggest. The finding - the big guy's teeth showed only light wear - might force scientists to downgrade everything they thought they knew about hominids' diets. For starters, the findings could cause this hominid, Paranthropus boisei, to relinquish rights to its long-held moniker, the Nutcracker Man, in the eyes of anthropologists. The Nutcracker Man lived from...


Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'