Seafood Diet Linked to Bigger Brains

A team of scientists representing five countries have discovered the oldest evidence of how early humans feasted on aquatic animals, which they believe could have fueled the evolution of larger human brains.

The researchers from Kenya, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa discovered a 1.95 million-year-old site in northwestern Kenya in 2004, in which they were able to fully reconstruct the environment according to its perfectly preserved fossil remains. The team have excavated thousands of fossilized bones and stone tools, and they were able to identify at least 10 individual animal that they believe were butchered by early humans who settled on the site, which was believed to be wet and marshy according to fossilized plant evidences.

The animals range from fish, to turtles, to antelopes, to crocodiles, even small birds and hippopotamuses. The scientists have also discovered that not only do early humans eat meat, but also crush long bones to consume fat-rich bone marrow.

This behavior in their diet has shown that early humans were able to increase their consumption in protein without having to compete with larger and more dangerous predators like lions and hyenas. Also, it is because of their consumption of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid commonly found in aquatic foods that may have helped how early human brain size increased dramatically after two million years ago.

Source:  Times of India