Hominin Diet

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Although websites might advertise this extremely healthy “paleo diet” that involves only “natural” agricultural foods and pounds of red meat, but do not be fooled. This is not the true paleo diet. There is actually no one “true” paleo diet, but many variable Paleolithic diets that depend on what is locally available to the hominine (Warinner 2013). The items that provided our ancient relatives nutrients might be labeled as inedible in our cultures today, for example, the practice of entomophagy. Hominines would eat anything that would provide sustenance, including a large range of insects (Lesnick 10/24).

Many people believe the misconception that we as humans, as well as our prehistoric hominine relatives, are these meat-eating beings. We are not. Our bodies are not anatomically or genetically adapted to meat consumption. All animals require vitamin C, which is a true vitamin in humans, meaning that it is only acquired by consuming a plant containing it. Carnivores that are adapted to regularly consume meat can make their own vitamin C, while, we as a species, need to eat vegetation to obtain it. A plant diet is supported by our much longer guts, which hold food for longer to gain more nutrients from fibrous materials. Our large molars support the shredding of highly fibrous vegetation, while we lack the carnassial teeth that are seen in carnivores (Warinner 2013). A prehistoric hominine would have consumed any number of available food sources in their environment, many of which we can identify through varying analyses. Anthropologists use stable isotope analysis to figure out the types of signature of isotopes a hominine have and therefore the types of food they are consuming. Using comparative anatomy, along with archeological and ecological records available would give an anthropologist a relatively clear story of what a hominine is eating near the time of death. All of these techniques need to be taken into consideration because a C4 conundrum could occur.

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The C4 conundrum refers to a situation where the morphology of the skeleton shows one type of diet,

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