Just out | The diet of the first Europeans from Atapuerca @ Nature Scientific Reports


Just out @ Nature Scientific Reports


Title: 

The diet of the first Europeans from Atapuerca


Author(s):

Alejandro Pérez-Pérez, Marina Lozano, Alejandro Romero, Laura M. Martínez, Jordi Galbany, Beatriz Pinilla, Ferran Estebaranz-Sánchez, José María Bermúdez de Castro, Eudald Carbonell & Juan Luís Arsuaga


Abstract:

Hominin dietary specialization is crucial to understanding the evolutionary changes of craniofacial biomechanics and the interaction of food processing methods’ effects on teeth. However, the diet-related dental wear processes of the earliest European hominins remain unknown because most of the academic attention has focused on Neandertals. Non-occlusal dental microwear provides direct evidence of the effect of chewed food particles on tooth enamel surfaces and reflects dietary signals over time. Here, we report for the first time the direct effect of dietary abrasiveness as evidenced by the buccal microwear patterns on the teeth of the Sima del Elefante-TE9 and Gran Dolina-TD6 Atapuerca hominins (1.2–0.8 million years ago − Myr) as compared with other Lower and Middle Pleistocene populations. A unique buccal microwear pattern that is found in Homo antecessor (0.96–0.8 Myr), a well-known cannibal species, indicates dietary practices that are consistent with the consumption of hard and brittle foods. Our findings confirm that the oldest European inhabitants ingested more mechanically-demanding diets than later populations because they were confronted with harsh, fluctuating environmental conditions. Furthermore, the influence of grit-laden food suggests that a high-quality meat diet from butchering processes could have fueled evolutionary changes in brain size.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE  Video | Homo nadeli @ The Royal Tyrrell Museum Speaker Series

READ IT HERE:

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep43319