Ancestral Appetites: Food in Prehistory by Kristen J. Gremillion

By Kristen J. Gremillion

This booklet explores the connection among prehistoric humans and their foodstuff - what they ate, why they ate it, and the way researchers have pieced jointly the tale of earlier foodways from fabric strains. modern human foodstuff traditions surround a possible limitless kind, yet all are primarily suggestions for assembly simple dietary wishes built over hundreds of thousands of years. people are designed through evolution to regulate our feeding habit and nutrients know-how to satisfy the calls for of a variety of environments via a mixture of social and experiential studying. during this e-book, Kristen J. Gremillion demonstrates how those evolutionary methods have formed the diversification of human vitamin over a number of million years of prehistory. She attracts on proof extracted from the fabric is still that offer the one direct proof of the way humans procured, ready, provided, and ate up nutrition in prehistoric occasions.

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More might be gained by actively driving away carnivores and other scavengers and appropriating their kills while they were still meaty. Whether or not a scavenging adaptation was feasible is a question that is still being debated. Relevant evidence continues to accumulate, but is not always easy to interpret as supportive of either hunting or scavenging. Instead, it is becoming apparent that meat acquisition by early hominins probably ranged along a continuum from passive versions (picking at long-abandoned kills) to more active ones, such as theft or hunting.

Both hunting-centered and plant-based models have merits, and both are flawed. For historical reasons, the two models developed in opposition to each other, which led to a polarization in which the sexes seemed to be involved in some sort of contest to take credit for inventing humanity. Proponents of one view or the other run the risk of filling in the evidential void with cultural biases and political positions. However, 17 Ancestral Appetites both of these models, and variants of them, have proven their worth by generating testable hypotheses and a great deal of profitable discussion among researchers.

However, models and theories have limited usefulness without evidence to inform them. Analogies are helpful, but they do not exhaust all the possibilities – and possibilities they must remain without being weighed against real-world data. BONES, BUTCHERY, AND THE SCAVENGING HYPOTHESIS During the 1970s and 1980s, when the debate over the relative importance of gathering and hunting was gaining momentum, there was virtually no evidence of plant use by early hominins. It is correct that this absence of evidence was not generally regarded as evidence of absence – organic materials just have a habit of quickly decomposing in most climates.

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