POST Online Media Lite Edition



 

Study reveals how diet shaped human evolution

Staff writer |
Homo sapiens, the ancestor of modern humans, shared the planet with Neanderthals, a close, heavy-set relative that dwelled almost exclusively in Ice-Age Europe, until some 40,000 years ago.

Article continues below






Neanderthals were similar to Homo sapiens, with whom they sometimes mated—but they were different, too. Among these many differences, Neanderthals were shorter and stockier, with wider pelvises and rib-cages than their modern human counterparts.

But what accounted for these anatomical differences? A new Tel Aviv University study finds that the Ice-Age diet — a high-protein intake of large animals — triggered physical changes in Neanderthals, namely a larger ribcage and a wider pelvis.

According to the research, the bell-shaped Neanderthal rib-cage or thorax had to evolve to accommodate a larger liver, the organ responsible for metabolizing great quantities of protein into energy.

This heightened metabolism also required an expanded renal system (enlarged bladder and kidneys) to remove large amounts of toxic urea, possibly resulting in a wide Neanderthal pelvis.

"The anatomical differences between the thoraxes and pelvises of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals have been well-known for many years, but now we're approaching it from a new angle—diet," said Prof. Avi Gopher.

Prof. Gopher, Prof. Ran Barkai and PhD candidate Miki Ben-Dor, all of TAU's Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, co-authored the study, which was recently published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

"During harsh Ice-Age winters, carbohydrates were scarce and fat was in limited supply. But large game, the typical prey of the Neanderthal, thrived," said Ben-Dor.

"This situation triggered an evolutionary adaptation to a high-protein diet—an enlarged liver, expanded renal system and their corresponding morphological manifestations. All of these contributed to the Neanderthal evolutionary process."

"In a 2011 paper, which dealt with the demise of Homo erectus in the Levant, we had already tapped into the notion that diet played a major role in human evolution," said Prof. Barkai.

"We argued then that high fat consumption was one of the most important solutions to the predicament presented by human evolution. Humans are limited in the amount of protein they are able turn into energy—protein provides just 30 percent of their overall diet. The solution, therefore, was to consume more fat and more carbohydrates when they were seasonally available.

"We found that, in the case of the Neanderthals, an acute shortage of carbohydrates and a limited availability of fat caused their biological adaptation to a high-protein diet."

Numerous animal experiments have already demonstrated that a high-protein diet is likely to produce enlarged livers and kidneys. "Early indigenous Arctic populations who primarily ate meat also displayed enlarged livers and the tendency to drink a lot of water, a sign of increased renal activity," said Ben-Dor.

According to the researchers, the total dependence of Neanderthals on large animals to answer their fat and protein needs may provide a clue to their eventual extinction, which took place at the same time as the beginning of the demise of giant animals or "Megafauna" in Europe some 50,000 years ago. The team is now researching this subject.


What to read next

City and brain, all the same
Bonobos may be closer to humans than chimpanzees
Even in cities, bees find flowers and avoid processed sugars

Out of ten sectors of Slovak economy, eight rose

 
Economic performance in the 3rd quarter was driven by the growing industry, developments in real estate market and transportation, including storage.
 
 

Latest

Don't know where to go in Paris? To see Moulin Rouge VIP show evening, of course
ADF mobilized $8.9 billion for Africa’s low-income countries, highest in its 50-year history
Three ships to bring Ukrainian foods to India, Turkey, Spain
Depot of the future delivers Australia’s largest electric vehicle logistics fleet

NEWS

3,000 security officers searched in 11 German states, far-right figures arrested for planning attacks

Argentine VP Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner sentenced to 6 years in jail for corruption
New Zealand: TAIC issues report on fire on board cargo ship Kota Bahagia
NTSB urges immediate inspections of Bell 407 helicopters
U.S.: Locally heavy rain and snow
Croatian MiG-21 crashed, both pilots survived
 

BUSINESS

Luxury travel market to grow by $703.14 billion

IATA: Airlines to return to profit next year but cargo under pressure
UAW urgently calls on automakers to move supply chain out of China's Uyghur Region
UK's fifth biggest trade union calls for an end to rip-off youth rates
Deal on new law to ensure products causing deforestation are not sold in EU
NHS plans to return retired and partially retired staff to work
 

Trending Now

EU antitrust watchdog slaps Deutsche Bank, Rabobank with bond cartel probe

Depot of the future delivers Australia’s largest electric vehicle logistics fleet

Bombardier breaks ground on Abu Dhabi service centre, will add more than 100 aerospace jobs

Taiwan Semiconductor to create 10,000 high-paying high-tech jobs in its new chip foundry in Arizona


POLITICS

Tajikistan plans to develop green economy in 4 years for $2 billion

European Union committed to mobilize 2.6 billion euros for Armenia
Thousand of Moldova's households to get higher compensations when paying bills
FM: Hungary received exemption from using oil price cap
Commission approves €26.3 million Finnish measure to support SEVO in construction of hydroelectric pump storage
Five Polish regions to get €3.85 billion for just transition toward climate neutral economy
 

Today We Recommend

UAW urgently calls on automakers to move supply chain out of China's Uyghur Region


Highlights 

Bombardier breaks ground on Abu Dhabi service centre, will add more than 100 aerospace jobs

Taiwan Semiconductor to create 10,000 high-paying high-tech jobs in its new chip foundry in Arizona

AbbVie signs $40 million collaboration deal with HotSpot Therapeutics


COMPANIES

Bombardier breaks ground on Abu Dhabi service centre, will add more than 100 aerospace jobs

Taiwan Semiconductor to create 10,000 high-paying high-tech jobs in its new chip foundry in Arizona
DAMAC Group signs contract with Mandarin Oriental to manage luxurious resort in Maldives
Kostal to build its new plant in Mexico
Rosatom to supply uranium products to Brazil
Etihad Cargo restarts China-India freighter flights to meet industrial demand
 

CAREERS

Invivyd appoints two executives

Martinrea International appoints Maureen Midgley to board
SouthGobi Resources appoints three directors
Canon Europe promotes Hiro Imamura to EVP, digital printing & solutions
BioMar appoints Andrew Campbell as CEO for AQ1
Roche appoints Brad Moore as CEO of Roche Diagnostics North America
 

ECONOMY

Canada trade surplus widens to $1.9 billion in October

Canada's international merchandise exports rose 1.5% in October
Brazil's Central Bank adjusts 2022 inflation projections by 0.01%
Australian GDP up 0.6 pct in Q3
Egypt’s net foreign reserves rise to $33.532 billion
Italy: Harmonized inflation inches down in November
 

EARNINGS

Barnes & Noble Education Q2 2023 GAAP sales decreased 1.6%

AutoZone Q1 net income decreased to $539.32 million
Genesco Q3 2023 GAAP earnings $1.66
Kirkland's Q3 sales $131.0 million
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Q1 2023 revenue $839.5 million
Malvern Bancorp Q4 net income $2.6 million
 

OP-ED

Micromanaging is the worst enemy of efficiency and teamwork

Niger set to monetize massive gas reserves through Saharan natural gas pipeline
Putting the brakes on EV folly that choked the market
Oil discovery in Kavango Basin may mean huge benefits for Namibians
Cape Town and Dubai battle over Africa's energy future
Is America going to lose its superpower status?
 

AGRIFISH

Russia receives right to export animal feed to Myanmar

Rospotrebnadzor: Swine flu reported in 74 Russian regions
Hong Kong Customs detects suspected frozen meat smuggling case involving cargo vessel
First direct train from Laos to China arrives with 543 tons of fruit
Vets cull 15,000 ducks in Czech Republic over bird flu outbreak
Hong Kong suspends poultry meat and products import from areas in Canada
 

LEADERSHIP

Only 32% of employees believe their pay is fair

Corporate duty waivers limit organic company growth and innovation
Women buy from women, men buy from women and men
How employee opinion impacts CEO dismissal
Keeping it in family can be good news when it comes to CEOs
Over a third of office workers are hybrid 'misfits'
 

CRIME

Walmart to pay Massachusetts $500,000 as part of alleged drug pricing violations

AT&T settles SEC charge of selectively disclosing material information to Wall St. analysts
Hertz to pay $168 mln to settle over 95% of wrongful theft report claims
Glencore to pay Republic of Congo $180 mln over alleged corruption claims
Fraudsters target water infrastructure projects, OLAF closes several cases
Rhode Island man to pay more than $2.8 million in restitution for virtual currency fraud
 

Magazine

TRAVEL

Cambria Hotels opens in Minneapolis

All aboard the Heathrow Festive Express
Asuncion, Mother of Cities and Paraguay’s center of culture, music and shopping
"Pets with Love" Dog Adoption Carnival 2022 to be held in Hong Kong
Weather-resistant ArtWalk Downtown Billings, Montana
Dual branded Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel opens in Montreal
 

SEA, LAND, AIR

Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato, first super sports car for any terrain

New colorful Porsche 718 Style Edition models
2023 Toyota Prius Prime, solar panel roof and reliability
Volvo EX90, a car with updates
Cessna Citation CJ4 Gen2 jet, pursue your business goals while enjoying journey
GMC first Sierra EV marks turning point
 

DESIGN

Patchwork carpets, vintage Persian carpets made with unparalleled skill

Real life wallpapers, perfectly executed
A. Lange & Söhne, men's watches with true Saxonian DNA
Nella Vetrina, luxurious Italian designers bathroom vanities and furniture
Karastan rugs, durable and beautiful
Leather bags for every occasion and every life style
 

GADGETS

ASUS launches ExpertBook B9 for executives

Take Elektor Fortissimo and make your own high-end amplifier
RangeXTD, a Wi-Fi extender that actually works
Monitor II A.N.C. headphones, iconic Marshall sound
Zebra TC15, a clever mix of a mobile phone and a computer for business use
Bathroom speakers will make your relaxing even better
 

HEALTH

EU regulator backs bivalent COVID shots for primary vaccination

Strep A killed at least nine children in UK
Justice Department secures agreement with Alabama Medicaid to remove unlawful sobriety mandate for health care access
Pfizer and BioNTech apply for FDA authorization for Omicron-retooled vaccine booster in kids under 5
Cornwall first area in England to trial NHS Digital Health Check
Huge rise of scarlet fever cases in UK, 6 kids dead of Strep A
 

MEANTIME

Maybe aliens are waiting to hear a signal from us first

NASA testing new robotic arm that really knows how to chill out
Mars is more active than previously thought
James Webb telescope produces an unparalleled view of the ghostly light in galaxy clusters
China's two meteorological satellites put into operation
Lagoon dries up as drought grips Peru