Early human ancestors in central Africa 3.5 million years ago ate a diet of mostly tropical grasses and sedges, finds new research.
The study suggests our relatives were mostly plant-eaters before they evolved a taste for meaty flesh. Consider that tidbit while passing around the creamed spinach during Thanksgiving dinner.
The study focused on Australopithecus bahrelghazali, which had quite a set of teeth. You can see a reconstruction of this human relative here.
"We found evidence suggesting that early hominins, in central Africa at least, ate a diet mainly comprised of tropical grasses and sedges," co-author Julia Lee-Thorp, a University of Oxford archaeologist, said in a press release.
She continued, "No African great apes, including chimpanzees, eat this type of food despite the fact it grows in abundance in tropical and subtropical regions. The only notable exception is the savannah baboon which still forages for these types of plants today. We were surprised to discover that early hominins appear to have consumed more than even the baboons."