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The Australopithecine and Early Hominin Thread

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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




  • Registered Users Posts: 30,747 ✭✭✭✭ Galvasean


    Nominated for 3 Nobel prizes. Quite the life he led.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    A study Australopithecus sediba's teeth reveals that if dined on bark and bushes, among other things.

    http://www.science20.com/news_articles/trees_australopithecus_sediba_had_caveman_diet_you_want_no_part-91543

    mQD0Qfm8iz95EqvH.jpg

    What caught my eye is that, according to a scientist, its diet would be "similar to that of today's savannah chimpanzees", which makes me wonder whether these apes too hunted and ate other animals once in a while (not small animals and insects, but larger game, the same way savannah chimps are known to kill and eat baboons, for example).


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,375 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    Wouldn't surprise me if they did AK. There are suggestions that even gorillas, a very herbivorous ape also eats meat on occasion. Orangs will do it too when fruit is scarce.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 91,504 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight


    Many herbivores will take meat to supplement their diet if presented with the opportunity.



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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Wibbs wrote: »
    Wouldn't surprise me if they did AK. There are suggestions that even gorillas, a very herbivorous ape also eats meat on occasion. Orangs will do it too when fruit is scarce.

    I wouldn´t be surprised if gorillas ate meat too. I already knew about the orangs. :>

    Weird fact about slow lorises (the primates eaten by the orangs in the article you linked to)- they are poisonous. They produce a toxic substance from glands in their elbows, and then they lick their elbows (try doing that, I dare you XD) and then spread the poison with their tongue all over their fur which keeps both predators and parasites away.
    Of course, since they get poison in their mouth they also get automatically a venomous bite. I think African pottos too have a slightly toxic bite.

    I wonder if orangutans are immune to this poison, or if the ingested toxin has a weaker effect than if it was injected through the loris bite- which has been known to cause fatal allergic reactions to humans if I remember clearly.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 31,137 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Mickeroo


    another article on what I think is the same find. Claiming this is the most complete pre-human skeleton ever?

    http://www.firstpost.com/fwire/most-complete-pre-human-skeleton-discovered-scientists-377732.html

    skeleton1.jpg


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,375 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    Just on the pic alone it looks very complete, rapidly buried and fossilised where it died and luckily encased in a harder rock than usual keeping it together. Most hominid remains are very spread out or have rotted/broken up before burial or where dispersed after burial due to erosion processes.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 30,747 ✭✭✭✭ Galvasean


    I would have imagined its sheer cuteness would deter most predators from eating the slow loris...

    sonya_the_slow_loris_4b101eb788a53.jpg


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Galvasean wrote: »
    I would have imagined its sheer cuteness would deter most predators from eating the slow loris...

    sonya_the_slow_loris_4b101eb788a53.jpg

    Chimps eat these, so...

    617med.jpg


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,472 ✭✭✭✭ steddyeddy


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    I wouldn´t be surprised if gorillas ate meat too. I already knew about the orangs. :>

    Weird fact about slow lorises (the primates eaten by the orangs in the article you linked to)- they are poisonous. They produce a toxic substance from glands in their elbows, and then they lick their elbows (try doing that, I dare you XD) and then spread the poison with their tongue all over their fur which keeps both predators and parasites away.
    Of course, since they get poison in their mouth they also get automatically a venomous bite. I think African pottos too have a slightly toxic bite.

    I wonder if orangutans are immune to this poison, or if the ingested toxin has a weaker effect than if it was injected through the loris bite- which has been known to cause fatal allergic reactions to humans if I remember clearly.


    Western gorillas do eat termites. I think the addition of meat to a diet opens it up to new enviromental niches and possibly increases its range.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Seems they ate even more of it than baboons do.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121214200916.htm

    I'm guessing this didn´t happen often:

    APIC3202.jpg


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,090 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    I seem to recall reading an old book sometime ago at university, I think it was by Henry G. Bieler, MD, called Food Is Your Best Medicine (probably out of print now), wherein he did research on the composition of human teeth, claiming that about 10 percent had evolved for meat eating, the remaining 90 percent for other non-meat foods. He then prescribed a diet based upon this observation. He mentioned nothing about "grass" eating, but it may fall into the 90 percent function.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Black Swan wrote: »
    I seem to recall reading an old book sometime ago at university, I think it was by Henry G. Bieler, MD, called Food Is Your Best Medicine (probably out of print now), wherein he did research on the composition of human teeth, claiming that about 10 percent had evolved for meat eating, the remaining 90 percent for other non-meat foods. He then prescribed a diet based upon this observation. He mentioned nothing about "grass" eating, but it may fall into the 90 percent function.

    I am currently under the impression that grass is high in silica which makes it very abrasive, definitely not good for your teeth :pac:



    Plus, dogs pee on it.


  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    We can't digest grass.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,472 ✭✭✭✭ steddyeddy


    Our ancestors must have produced a lot of cellulase in order to digest grass.


  • Registered Users Posts: 714 Ziphius


    I wonder if the palaeodiet devotees in the diet and nutrition forum would be interested in this ;)


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,375 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    Judging by the shapes of their torsos which are big bellied compared to our more V shape and they had enough of a gut to break down plant material alright. Teeth wise they tended to be bigger and flatter for crushing plant material.

    When we get to Erectus the picture changes. Their teeth have been tested and have been found to be much better at processing meat. Their bodies became the modern template too. Commanding fire and making tools externalised a lot of the digestive tract too. Chew a raw potato and you've your work cut out, cook it and it's lovely and soft. Ditto for meat in general. Slicing tasks were taken over by tool use.

    Our bodies seem to reflect these changes. Our guts got shorter and our teeth generally get smaller the more recent the human. Even in modern humans our teeth have reduced in size even over the last 20,000 years. Modern native Aussies would have about the biggest teeth overall, followed by Europeans. Funny enough we have very thick enamel considering our jaw size and bigger tooth roots. Thicker than chimps for example. Usually found in animals with high bite strengths. IIRC I read a study which found we've apparently the most efficient bite of any great ape hence we need the robust teeth.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 Rubecula


    We eat bread which is made from grass (wheat)


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Wibbs wrote: »
    Funny enough we have very thick enamel considering our jaw size and bigger tooth roots. Thicker than chimps for example. Usually found in animals with high bite strengths. IIRC I read a study which found we've apparently the most efficient bite of any great ape hence we need the robust teeth.

    Wait... that doesn´t mean we have a stronger bite than the other apes, right? Cuz I find that hard to believe... may be wrong tho.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,375 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    Nah AK, more efficient, so that we can apply more force with far less muscle power involved.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,523 ✭✭✭✭ Poor Uncle Tom


    Wibbs wrote: »
    Judging by the shapes of their torsos which are big bellied compared to our more V shape and they had enough of a gut to break down plant material alright. Teeth wise they tended to be bigger and flatter for crushing plant material.

    When we get to Erectus the picture changes. Their teeth have been tested and have been found to be much better at processing meat. Their bodies became the modern template too. Commanding fire and making tools externalised a lot of the digestive tract too. Chew a raw potato and you've your work cut out, cook it and it's lovely and soft. Ditto for meat in general. Slicing tasks were taken over by tool use.

    Our bodies seem to reflect these changes. Our guts got shorter and our teeth generally get smaller the more recent the human. Even in modern humans our teeth have reduced in size even over the last 20,000 years. Modern native Aussies would have about the biggest teeth overall, followed by Europeans. Funny enough we have very thick enamel considering our jaw size and bigger tooth roots. Thicker than chimps for example. Usually found in animals with high bite strengths. IIRC I read a study which found we've apparently the most efficient bite of any great ape hence we need the robust teeth.
    I always thought that we (humans) did eat grass and plants at our early stages, while evolving we developed a more diverse diet leading to the changes described.

    The real question, is not whether we used to eat grass or not, but rather is the inside of our bodies evolving at the same rate as the outside is?

    It was thought that our appendix played a role in the breakdown and/or absorbtion of chlorophyll into our systems. Basically chlorophyll cleaned the blood and kept the blood high in alkaline. This maintained our hemoglobin and prevented damage to our DNA.

    As humans we also have melanin which is said to be a cousin to chlorophyll. Melanin is a skin pigment in humans as is chlorophyll as pigment in plants.

    We gain energy externally from the sun as do plants. In order for us to get the sun's energy within us, we did and should ingest plants (chlorophyll).

    I wonder what the skin colour of our early ancestors was, given that they ate a lot of grass?


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,523 ✭✭✭✭ Poor Uncle Tom


    Wibbs wrote: »
    Nah AK, more efficient, so that we can apply more force with far less muscle power involved.
    Hardly more force, given that the muscles around the mandible cause the force rather than the teeth. I'd say the difference is that humans have a more diverse range of teeth rather like a swiss army knife can be likened to a pen knife for campers. Just a thought......:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,313 Sam Kade


    Rubecula wrote: »
    We eat bread which is made from grass (wheat)
    Bread is made from seed of wheat not the leaves ;)


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,375 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    We gain energy externally from the sun as do plants. In order for us to get the sun's energy within us, we did and should ingest plants (chlorophyll)
    Eh wut? No we don't. We get vitamin D from sun exposure alright, but we don't get energy/sugars from light. Humans do not photosynthesise. Plus chlorophyll is useless to the human body as we don't metabolise it. Chlorophyll of course is quite the common compound your alternative types mention but it's bogus and provably and logically so.
    Hardly more force, given that the muscles around the mandible cause the force rather than the teeth. I'd say the difference is that humans have a more diverse range of teeth rather like a swiss army knife can be likened to a pen knife for campers. Just a thought......:)
    Here we go http://news.discovery.com/human/human-bite.html Like I said more efficient.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,523 ✭✭✭✭ Poor Uncle Tom


    Well, you live and learn. The day we don't learn something is a day wasted...:pac:


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 91,504 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight


    gelada baboons can handle grass


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,375 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    Well processed and wore hides anyway. Clothes is a step more. It seem, so far anyway, that we were the first to have needles to more carefully tailor clothes to fit.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



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