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Sat Dec 15, 2012, 11:59 AM

Scientists 'Surprised' to Discover Very Early Ancestors Survived On Tropical Plants

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


...Professor Lee-Thorp, a specialist in isotopic analyses of fossil tooth enamel, from the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, said: "We found evidence suggesting that early hominins, in central Africa at least, ate a diet mainly composed of tropical grasses and sedges.

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."

The research paper suggests this discovery demonstrates how early hominins experienced a shift in their diet relatively early, at least in Central Africa. The finding is significant in signalling how early humans were able to survive in open landscapes with few trees, rather than sticking only to types of terrain containing many trees. This allowed them to move out of the earliest ancestral forests or denser woodlands, and occupy and exploit new environments much farther afield, says the study....

The authors argue that it is unlikely that the hominins would have eaten the leaves of the tropical grasses as they would have been too abrasive and tough to break down and digest. Instead, they suggest that these early hominins may have relied on the roots, corms and bulbs at the base of the plant....




Examples of C4 Plants:

1. Crab Grass

2. Corn

3. Amaranth

4. Sorgham.

5. Millet.

6. Sugarcane.



Popped Amaranth

http://healthytastebuds.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/popped-amaranth/

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