Monday, June 20, 2011

Peter Ungar: Homo erectus Ate More Diverse Things than Homo habilis

University of Arkansas researcher Peter Ungar has found evidence that the diet of Homo erectus was more variable than that of Homo habilis, its ancestor. The University of Arkansas Newswire reports:
The researchers used a technique developed by Ungar and his colleagues that combines engineering software, scale-sensitive fractal analysis and a scanning confocal microscope to create a reproducible texture analysis for teeth. The researchers looked at both complexity, the roughness at varying scales, and directionality in the teeth they examined. Hard foods like nuts and seeds tend to lead to more complex tooth profiles, while tough foods like leaves or meat lead to more scratches, which corresponds with directionality.
The analysis indicates that Homo habilis ate more plant material, while Homo erectus incorporated more nuts, berries and possibly meat into its diet. Another piece of the puzzle. Yay.

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