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Neanderthals Ate Their Veggies

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the except-for-brussel-sprouts dept.

Science 151

sciencehabit (1205606) writes Scientists excavating an archaeological site in southern Spain have finally gotten the real poop on Neanderthals, finding that the Caveman Diet for these quintessential carnivores included substantial helpings of vegetables. Using the oldest published samples of human fecal matter, archaeologists have found the first direct evidence that Neanderthals in Europe cooked and ate plants about 50,000 years ago.

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That's not what my crossfit instructor told me! (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 4 months ago | (#47323453)

Palo diet bro!!!!!!!

Re:That's not what my crossfit instructor told me! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323529)

Bros don't crossfit, hipsters do.

Re:That's not what my crossfit instructor told me! (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47323723)

Stupid knows no borders.

Re:That's not what my crossfit instructor told me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323557)

The Palo Alto diet?

Re:That's not what my crossfit instructor told me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323747)

i'm assuming you think that the paleo diet is a raw food diet, which it's not.

Re:That's not what my crossfit instructor told me! (1, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47323867)

As if it fucking matters.

Re:That's not what my crossfit instructor told me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324261)

Then your instructor understands absolutely nothing about the Paleo diet. Seriously, read Robb Wolf's book.

Or are you too stupid to separate veggies from grains?

Re:That's not what my crossfit instructor told me! (2)

Tyler Durden (136036) | about 4 months ago | (#47324439)

It turns our that most people get the Paleo diet wrong. The diets of these people would differ wildly depending on the land they occupied.

For many of the myths espoused on what the Paleo diet was see here [youtube.com] .

Of course they did. Mango salsa too. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#47323457)

I have seen them order the roast duck with the magno salsa.

Yea, look how that worked out for them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323485)

Just saying.

Seems strange. (5, Funny)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 4 months ago | (#47323487)

Omnivores eating things that are edible? I thought extraordinary claims required extraordinary proof.

Re:Seems strange. (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#47323509)

Omnivores eating things that are edible? I thought extraordinary claims required extraordinary proof.

In this case, extraordinary claims did require extraordinary poop.

Re:Seems strange. (2, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 4 months ago | (#47323591)

Poopycock!

Every animal when faced with hunger, will try to eat anything that looks remotely edible to it. The belief that neanderthals wouldn't be eating vegetables regularly is ridiculous.

Re:Seems strange. (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 months ago | (#47324281)

In this case, extraordinary claims did require extraordinary poop.

Queue image of Jeff Goldblum, taking off his sunglasses, then saying "That is one big pile of shit."

Re:Seems strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323563)

Headline should have been "Neanderthals Cooked Their Food", but I guess vegetables are more controversial.
I'm surprised that the headline wasn't "Neanderthals Ate Strictly Organic Food"

Re:Seems strange. (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 4 months ago | (#47323589)

Omnivores eating things that are edible? I thought extraordinary claims required extraordinary proof.

Ohh, I hope it was gluten free.

Re:Seems strange. (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47323593)

It's nice to see that somebody found some coproliths (isn't it nice that there's a scientific synonym for 'shit rocks'?) and managed to get more detailed data (tooth structure and clever isotopic work can distinguish carnivores from onmivores or herbivores; but actual digested material might even allow you to identify plant types, depending on preservation, presence of seeds, etc.); but I'd always had the impression that the 'Cavemen, like, ate meat all the time' considered so disproven as to be barely worth mentioning, given that the dental records suggested that neanderthals weren't wildly different from humans in terms of chewing optimizations, and basically every pre-agricultural society ever(except maybe inuit, since there isn't much to 'gather' on the ice) have combined some amount of hunting with some amount of gathering.

There is a fairly noticeable change when agriculture hits the scene (suddenly all rice/millet/wheat/etc. all the time becomes a thing for the squalid underclass, minus any small livestock that can be raised on scraps); but there is nothing suggesting that hominids with alternatives ever went meat-only.

Re:Seems strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323711)

Thanks for the new word. Now I just need to find a way to work coproliths into a conversation today.

Ad hominem. (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about 4 months ago | (#47324347)

I have been calling certain sorts "Coprophage" for years. Not one has yet understood the term.
I was not popular in school

Re:Seems strange. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47323853)

It's nice to see that somebody found some coproliths (isn't it nice that there's a scientific synonym for 'shit rocks'?)

They should have called them crapoliths. ;-)

worlwide spiritual sodomy continues (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323489)

nothing new in centuries http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=unrepentant&sm=3 other than the 'weather' maybe http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+weather

talk about spiritually unadvanced? as both suicidal & homicidal abuse victims we make great crusaders?

No thanks... (5, Funny)

overlook77 (988190) | about 4 months ago | (#47323493)

Look how that worked out for them....

Re:No thanks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323793)

They obviously interbred with your mama.

So that explains it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323495)

So that explains why they died off!

Paleo was right?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323497)

Go figure. lol

One Sample (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47323511)

Not sure how much one sample can tell us about the diet of an entire species.

Re:One Sample (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323549)

Not sure how much one sample can tell us about the diet of an entire species.

It was a group poop.

Re:One Sample (1)

deathguppie (768263) | about 4 months ago | (#47323581)

I've always wanted to take a class on archaeological poop tasting

Re:One Sample (3, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 4 months ago | (#47323609)

Seems like it shoots down the idea that no Neanderthal ate cooked veggies.

One counterexample goes a long way toward rejecting a theory.

Re:One Sample (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323701)

If it was said that they were only carnivores and we found evidence of them eating vegetables, then that does refute the original hypothesis for the entire species.

Re:One Sample (4, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | about 4 months ago | (#47324029)

The fact that they had a high rate of conversion (i.e. they digested the plant instead of passing it) it is reasonable to assume that they were ADAPTED to eating veggies, which means it was part of the reason they survived/evolved.

Finding veggies in stool is no big deal, wild cats poop out grass all the time, it doesn't make them true omnivores.

They found DIGESTED vegetable matter, that is the true find, and one that easily extrapolates across the entire species.

Re:One Sample (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47324093)

Great point, I had not thought of that. But it still does not differentiate between 95% of the calories being from meat or 5% being from meat in some average Neanderthal diet.

Re:One Sample (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 4 months ago | (#47324445)

it is reasonable to assume that they were ADAPTED to eating veggies

The other Homininae digest plant matter, so why should we think that Neaderthal did not eat any plant matter?

And now they are dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323525)

Neanderthals ate their veggies and humans ate their neanderthals.
Humans ~7 000 000 000
Neanderthals EXTINCT

In the same sense that your ancestors are dead (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47323991)

humans ate their neanderthals.

Only in the "Little Red Riding Hood" fairy tale sense where "eating" is a metaphor for sex. Cro-mags and Neanderthals are believed to have been different breeds of one species, which interbred to form modern man.

Re:In the same sense that your ancestors are dead (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47324085)

Wait a sec. Gramma fucked the Big Bad Wolf?

And then she climbed into his testicles? And the Woodsman castrated him to free Gramma?

Re:In the same sense that your ancestors are dead (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47324167)

Sounds very oedipal.

How does that make you feel? Does it make you resent your father? What are your first memories of your mother?

Re:In the same sense that your ancestors are dead (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47324401)

The traditional telling is embellished. Hoodwinked gets some parts right but is also embellished. Given what fairy tale logic, here's what probably happened: The wolf sexually assaulted Granny, took her clothes, tied her up, and locked her in a closet.

But my point is that most ethnic Europeans have some alleles of Neanderthal origin.

Re:In the same sense that your ancestors are dead (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47324571)

But my point is that most ethnic Europeans have some alleles of Neanderthal origin.

Hmmm .... I'm no geneticist, but doesn't everybody? Since they're our collective ancestors, how could you not?

Or are all of the non-Europeans somehow descended from something else but ended up being exactly the same?

Wrong species (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323535)

Before people start claiming that this proves that our ancestors ate such-and-such... remember Neanderthals aren't ancestors of modern Homo Sapiens but a different evolutionary branch altogether.

Which isn't to say that their and our common ancestors must have eaten a substantially different diet. Also, apparently there was some cross-breeding between our various ancestral species.

So what was my point again? Never mind.

Re: Wrong species (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323635)

Modern humans are a hybrid species: Sapiens, Neanderthal, Desovionian, and there are genetic hints of a fourth yet unidentified subspecies that has contributed to the modern genome.

Re: Wrong species (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324005)

I think the fourth one was Kardashian.

Re: Wrong species (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324179)

I didn't think they were related to humans.

Re:Wrong species (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323931)

It said they ate vegetables, it doesn't say "they didn't eat meat."

Just because I ate potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and grains last night doesn't mean hamburger wasn't also ordered off the menu.

Re:Wrong species (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 4 months ago | (#47324523)

Don't forget sesame seeds...

same species, different race (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 months ago | (#47324051)

Species means you cannot have fertile interbreeding. But we could and did interbreed. Up to 5% of European and Asian genes are neadertal.

As discoveries accumlate it looks more and more like neadertal did most of same cultural things as homo double-sapiens: composite tools, fire, language, art, clothing, etc. The degree of culture may have been different.

It also appears neadertal had larger and more complex brains [blogspot.com] than double-sapiens.

Re:same species, different race (2)

dryeo (100693) | about 4 months ago | (#47324497)

Species is much more subtle then no fertile interbreeding. Example, ring species where you have types a,b,c and a can breed with b, b can breed with c but a can not breed with c. There are examples (big cats I believe) where the off spring are fertile if a is male and b is female but infertile if b is male and a is female. Then there are the species that are fertile across species but aren't turned on by the other species or have different breeding seasons so don't breed.
Basically species are more of a spectrum then boolean and when it comes to modern Humans vs Neanderthals it is border line whether sub-species or separate species.

Re:same species, different race (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47324577)

Then there are the species that are fertile across species but aren't turned on by the other species or have different breeding seasons so don't breed.

So, the opposite of James T. Kirk then?

2nd comings helpings chances abound (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323539)

just ask noam promotion going well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CKpCGjD8wg&list=PL456D453B409DF8D1

Archeological evidence has limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323565)

For example, it's probably impossible to determine how many hours a week was spent by the average Neanderthal watching NASCAR on TV.

Am I the only one who understood this as - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323569)

Neanderthals ate their Vegeterian Neanderthal buddies?

Human fecal matter? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 4 months ago | (#47323573)

What does that tell us about Neanderthals?

Re:Human fecal matter? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#47323669)

Wild guess - they don't consider "human" to be equivalent to "homo sapiens sapiens"....

Re:Human fecal matter? (1)

stjobe (78285) | about 4 months ago | (#47323847)

"The Neanderthals or Neandertals [...] are an extinct species of human in the genus Homo, possibly a subspecies of Homo sapiens."
  - Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Re:Human fecal matter? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47324269)

It tells us that Neanderthals pooped, just like us. Everybody poops. Even robots [fjcdn.com] .

Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preference? (2, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47323587)

One thing I'd be curious to find out is whether or not the Neanderthals were doing this because they preferred vegetables, or because they had nothing else around to eat.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 months ago | (#47323671)

You are asking the wrong question. There is no reason to suppose that Neanderthals preferred vegetables, since the conclusion is that they ate both vegetables and meat. I like meat, but I also eat vegetables. I do not eat vegetables because I prefer them to meat. Nor do I eat vegetables because I have nothing else around to eat. I eat vegetables because I like them (and sometimes because they are good for me).

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47324039)

You get your food from a grocery store, where everything is plentiful.

Thus your anecdote has no bearing on the question.

Go camping for a week without food, and have to scavenge for yourself. See what you 'prefer'.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47324123)

Go camping for a week without food, and have to scavenge for yourself. See what you 'prefer'.

I already know the answer to this: room service.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47324161)

If you "go camping for a week", you are probably going to be eating berries and mushrooms, with possibly a fish.

You probably are not going to be eating fresh elk.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47324241)

That's kind of my point.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47324477)

OK. I thought you were going for the "alpha male eats freshly killed flesh" angle.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 months ago | (#47324201)

It does not matter. There is no reason to suppose that Neanderthals preferred vegetables, nor that they preferred meat, since they ate both. While it is possible, probably even likely, that their diet consisted primarily of whatever they could find that was edible, it is unlikely that they chose vegetables ONLY because that was all they could get or because they preferred them to meat.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 months ago | (#47324309)

Go camping for a week without food, and have to scavenge for yourself.

Scavenge? Most of the people here are Americans. We don't carry around these huge quantities of belly-fat for nothing. Sure, you laugh at us now, but just wait until we're in a survival situation and the rest of you start dropping like flies. ;)

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47324491)

Unless there's running involved. Or climbing. Or anything physical.

I don't need to outrun the bear, I need to outrun you.

And if it comes to it, the fattest guy will feed more people.

So, the survival strategy is to make sure you're around at least 2 people who are fatter than you. That's what I do.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 months ago | (#47324589)

I don't go into the woods without my 1911, so best of luck trying to turn me into your meal. :)

Also, I run marathons, and do 15-20mi cross country hikes.....

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47324629)

LOL, well, you did say "we" in regards to all of that belly fat.

Which means, at least implicitly, you were in the category of people who wouldn't do so well in a survival situation.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (2)

will_die (586523) | about 4 months ago | (#47323703)

It was done as a bar bet after of bunch of shepherds were out drinking beer.

Maybe they liked them both (1)

fantomas (94850) | about 4 months ago | (#47323739)

Good question, one I guess the paleo environmental folk might be able to shed light on (what species of flora and fauna were in the area). But folk can really like a big steak when they are hungry and equally really enjoy fresh picked fruits on a hot summer's day, there doesn't need to be a conflict on a taste front. From a survival strategy perspective it makes sense to be happy with either hunted or gathered food sources, reduces your risk of starvation. Your tribe's not going to survive that long if you turn your noses up at eating nuts from a nearby grove of hazelnut trees and insist on walking for 8 hours to maybe track down some meat. Enjoying both increases your chances of doing well.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47323751)

I've always assumed that if they were hunter gatherers, part of the 'gathering' is likely to be food derived from plants.

If it has teeth like an omnivore, and poops like an omnivore, it's probably a freaking omnivore.

I should think not long after they got fire, they started cooking stuff.

My guess, they collected anything they knew they could eat, and ate it.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324013)

Did you even read the article?

The predominance of coprostanol and a near absence of 5-stigmastanol among our samples indicate that the Neanderthals from El Salt had a meat-dominated diet.

Please tell us more about how samples indicating a dominance of meat and flesh are indicative of an "omnivorous diet". Looks like Slashdot will mod anyone up these days, even if it's painfully obvious they didn't read the paid-advert *cough* I mean article.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47324105)

Please tell us more about how samples indicating a dominance of meat and flesh are indicative of an "omnivorous diet"

OK, sure, from the fine article, which apparently you didn't read:

The tests revealed that the poop "clearly" contained high proportions of cholesterol and coprostanol from eating meat, but it also included significant plant sterols that "unambiguously record the ingestion of plants," the researchers report today in PLOS ONE.

Sistiaga says this is the first "direct" evidence that the Neandertals actually ingested plants, because the biomarkers were in their fecesâ"and not just on their teeth.

Ergo, omnivorous diet.

From the second article, in the conclusions section:

Taken together, these data suggest that the Neanderthals from El Salt consumed both meat and vegetables, in agreement with recent hypotheses based on indirect evidence.

So, the paper is saying that, it would appear that they ate vegetables.

Looks like Slashdot will mod anyone up these days

Post something intelligent under your own account, and you too can be modded up.

Otherwise, STFU.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

hey! (33014) | about 4 months ago | (#47324035)

In my experience you tend to crave what you habitually eat. The Hmong forage for Solanum nigrum -- black nightshade -- a plant that is not only inedibly bitter for most people, it's actually poisonous if you haven't spent years working up a tolerance to its toxic alkaloids. And here's the kicker: black nightshade grows wild here in the US and the old folks here go looking for it in the woods, even though they can buy meat and non-toxic vegetables in the supermarket. They grew up with the stuff, so they crave it.

The single most powerful feature our species has is behavioral flexibility. The same plant that is a side dish providing auxiliary nutrients today could be famine food tomorrow if the hunt doesn't go well. If a plant is nutritious and abundant in the environment, I'd expect local humans to eat it with enjoyment.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47324285)

Did half the country take a "Hmong Cultures" class a couple years ago? I must have missed it. During the past two years or so, I have seen several references to the Hmong people, with no explanation of who they are. If I mentioned "the plight of the Nukak", I would certainly have to include a reference to their location and what their plight is.

Am I the only one here that only knows the Hmong because of repeated googling about them?

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 months ago | (#47324361)

Did half the country take a "Hmong Cultures" class a couple years ago?

In a manner of speaking [imdb.com] .....

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47324463)

That explains a lot. I never saw that movie, but I'm sure many here did.

Thanks for the reply. :^)

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 4 months ago | (#47324605)

There's also mutations where one group can handle a poisonous plant or often fungus that will sicken or kill another group. We see this with milk where Europeans often have a mutation allowing to digest milk and other groups don't. Really the ideal diet varies on sub-type of human and what was available in their ancestral homes.

Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47324277)

It's simple. If they didn't eat their veggies, they wouldn't get any dessert.

Huge pile of assumptions (-1, Troll)

BobMcD (601576) | about 4 months ago | (#47323721)

Observational sciences are always weaker than experimental sciences for exactly this reason. Today we debunk the previous assumption that cave men only ate meat. How did we come to that conclusion in the first place? Wild ass guess, most likely.

Put it this way - we know 'they ate plant matter'. We might (according to the study's conclusions) be able to determine 'how much' with further study. But I imagine we're quite a ways away from 'what plants'. We're also still making WAGs about how they got those plants, vis-a-vis hunter gatherers.

They could have farmed them.

They COULD have used biodegradable tools, sustainable farming, etc, and we'd never know they did 50,000 years later because those things don't leave behind fossils.

TLDR - Pics or it didn't happen

Re:Huge pile of assumptions (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 months ago | (#47323807)

I suppose it depends on what you mean by "weaker". I don't think that experiments are going to tell us much at all about what neanderthals ate, so in this case observation would seem to have the edge.

Is there such a thing as "observational" and "experimental" science though? I see a lot of experimental work behind observational studies, and a lot of observations behind lab experiments.

Re:Huge pile of assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323923)

I think he was differentiating because you can not create an experiment that would be neanderthals living in a population so that you could observe and see the results. He was saying with this idea, all you can do is look for things left behind and observe.

Re:Huge pile of assumptions (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 4 months ago | (#47323995)

I think he was differentiating because you can not create an experiment that would be neanderthals living in a population so that you could observe and see the results. He was saying with this idea, all you can do is look for things left behind and observe.

Bingo

Re:Huge pile of assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323975)

Math is the only pure (experamental) science.

More surprised about cooking (1)

robstout (2873439) | about 4 months ago | (#47323741)

I'm not surprised Neadrathals ate veggies. Look at their teeth. Cooking food though, that's pretty cool.

Re:More surprised about cooking (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47324303)

The heat really opens the flavor of the brontocarrots and tomatosauruses.

Coming soon... new releases... (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 4 months ago | (#47323767)

I will be publishing my own fecal matter soon. Pre-order yours today!

"Direct vs Indirect" Evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323787)

What is so direct about this evidence?

Our evidence for animal and plant intake comes from the top of
the white layer of combustion structure H44 and its overlying
deposit (Fig. 1C). This ash layer has shown to be microstructurally
well preserved, not reworked by bioturbation, and is overlain by a
sandy clayey sediment (La8) with a sharp contact. Several
millimetric phosphatic coprolites with micromorphological features
resembling those reported for human coprolites [28] were
identified in thin sections manufactured from oriented blocks of
sediment collected from stratigraphic unit X, near the samples
reported here. These coprolites are autofluorescent under blue
light, have a massive groundmass and contain numerous
inclusions, possibly the remains of parasitic nematode eggs or
spores [29,30]. (Fig. 1D).

Here we used the ratio proposed
by Bull and coworkers [11] [coprostanol+epicoprostanol/5bstigmastanol+
epi-5b-stigmastanol] in order to distinguish between
omnivore, pig/human (.1), and herbivore species (,1). The value
obtained using this ratio (1.78) suggests a human origin.

It still sounds like indirect evidence to me. Is "direct evidence" a precisely defined term in this context?

Men in black. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323803)

You knew just moments ago.

Either way,

When will we now know that they farmed their veggies lollolol....

Cooked! (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 4 months ago | (#47323813)

It's not just that they ate veggies, they cooked them. Was there any other animal which we know that cooked its own food besides us?

Re:Cooked! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47323939)

Well, I guess it depends on how we define 'cooked'.

Spiders and flies do that thing with the enzymes. Crocodilians sometimes age their meat before eating it. Leafcutter ants promote growth of fungus on the plants. Honey involves a couple of steps where you change it from one form to another.

Are any of these what we'd call cooking? Probably not. Does it imply that a very long time ago other critters figured out that sometimes you need to take steps to make something edible? Absolutely.

If we define 'cooked' as involving heat or flame ... well, I don't think any other animal has been observed making direct use of fire. At least, not that I've ever heard of.

If we define 'cooked' as 'somehow transformed to make edible', well, then maybe.

Re:Cooked! (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 4 months ago | (#47324221)

Thaks for you answer. I wish could make my rhetoric questions sound "rhetoric".

Re:Cooked! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47324255)

I assume you mean rhetorical?

Also, a rhetorical question. ;-)

Re:Cooked! (1)

abies (607076) | about 4 months ago | (#47323951)

No, because animals do not control fire. But there are animals which warm/freeze/ferment/marinate/flavor/wash their food (not all done by same type animal of course). But cooking as in 'having control over 200+C heat source' - no.

Re:Cooked! (1)

itzly (3699663) | about 4 months ago | (#47323963)

Not really a big surprise given their big brain size. It's virtually impossible to get enough calories on a daily basis on a diet of raw foods. Cooking food makes the nutrients much more accessible for the digestive system. Here is a TED talk about this subject: https://www.ted.com/talks/suza... [ted.com]

Re:Cooked! (1)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#47324009)

"It's not just that they ate veggies, they cooked them. Was there any other animal which we know that cooked its own food besides us?"

If you expand 'cooked' to the more generic 'prepared' then plenty of animals would qualify. In fact if you consider things like pickled herring and kimchee 'cooked' then we could probably argue that many animals do cook their food - crocodiles, for instance, are known to stash their kills in underwater caches for long periods before eating which 'cooks' the flesh using the chemical processes of decomposition, the resulting meal is roughly as 'cooked' as lutfisk or surströmming.

But no, I cannot think of any animals outside of hominids that have learned to start and control fires, which is a prerequisite for 'cooking' in most senses.

Re:Cooked! (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47324353)

It would be cool if an animal figured out how to use natural fires (grassfires, forest fires) to cook a particular animal. But once they smell the smoke, they all run away.

Modern kids (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 4 months ago | (#47323897)

Great...so even Neanderthals ate their veggies...and yet we struggle getting our kids to eat anything green.

Re:Modern kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324217)

Perhaps we shouldn't tell them to not behave like Neanderthals.

Organic poop used to fertilize veggies... (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 4 months ago | (#47324385)

Meanwhile, vegged out Neanderthal "Stone-agers" were confused by yucky veggies and just ate their poop.

The original "Hole Foods" was born.
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