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The Evolution of Man

Italy Ngala Offline
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Pleistocene footprints show intensive use of lake margin habitats by Homo erectus groups Roach et al., 2016

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Figure 1: Photographs of 1.5 Ma tracks recovered near Ileret, Kenya.
Clockwise from upper right: White rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), pelican (Pelecanus), hominin (putative Homo erectus), large wading bird (Ciconiidae or Gruidae), elephant (Elephas or Loxodonta) and medium sized bovid. Photos: N. Roach/K. Hatala.

Abstract:
"Reconstructing hominin paleoecology is critical for understanding our ancestors’ diets, social organizations and interactions with other animals. Most paleoecological models lack fine-scale resolution due to fossil hominin scarcity and the time-averaged accumulation of faunal assemblages. Here we present data from 481 fossil tracks from northwestern Kenya, including 97 hominin footprints attributed to Homo erectus. These tracks are found in multiple sedimentary layers spanning approximately 20 thousand years. Taphonomic experiments show that each of these trackways represents minutes to no more than a few days in the lives of the individuals moving across these paleolandscapes. The geology and associated vertebrate fauna place these tracks in a deltaic setting, near a lakeshore bordered by open grasslands. Hominin footprints are disproportionately abundant in this lake margin environment, relative to hominin skeletal fossil frequency in the same deposits. Accounting for preservation bias, this abundance of hominin footprints indicates repeated use of lakeshore habitats by Homo erectus. Clusters of very large prints moving in the same direction further suggest these hominins traversed this lakeshore in multi-male groups. Such reliance on near water environments, and possibly aquatic-linked foods, may have influenced hominin foraging behavior and migratory routes across and out of Africa."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 09-13-2016, 03:18 PM by Ngala )

Footprints reveal direct evidence of group behavior and locomotion in Homo erectus Hatala et al, 2016

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Figure 1: 1.5 Ma hominin tracks from Ileret, Kenya.
Representative images of hominin tracks uncovered in the Ileret area between 2007 and 2014. These tracks come from five different sites within about 1.5 km of each other. Some tracks show deterioration and overprinting, while many preserve fine detail, indicating that they were rapidly hardened and covered with sediment. No two sites represent the same continuous surface, as all come from different stratigraphic levels within the Ileret tuff complex. The total sample includes 97 hominin tracks produced by at least 20 different individuals.

Abstract:
"Bipedalism is a defining feature of the human lineage. Despite evidence that walking on two feet dates back 6–7 Ma, reconstructing hominin gait evolution is complicated by a sparse fossil record and challenges in inferring biomechanical patterns from isolated and fragmentary bones. Similarly, patterns of social behavior that distinguish modern humans from other living primates likely played significant roles in our evolution, but it is exceedingly difficult to understand the social behaviors of fossil hominins directly from fossil data. Footprints preserve direct records of gait biomechanics and behavior but they have been rare in the early human fossil record. Here we present analyses of an unprecedented discovery of 1.5-million-year-old footprint assemblages, produced by 20+ Homo erectus individuals. These footprints provide the oldest direct evidence for modern human-like weight transfer and confirm the presence of an energy-saving longitudinally arched foot in H. erectus. Further, print size analyses suggest that these H. erectus individuals lived and moved in cooperative multi-male groups, offering direct evidence consistent with human-like social behaviors in H. erectus."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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United States Pckts Offline
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A few of us are having a discussion regarding what may be the main cause of mans rapid evolution in brain volume, Im just going to post all the previous posts here and we can go from there.


@brotherbear writes

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My Response "I've been to oldupai gorge, if their habitat was similar to how it is now, there was vast grass lands that wouuld of been there, but also rolling hills and mountains as well. There also was a massive volcano present during their time and the other hominids that came after. "


While this was being discussed, another debate was starting to present it self.

The brotherbear Wrote:
(11-05-2016, 08:00 PM)parvez Wrote: Wrote:
(11-05-2016, 06:30 PM)brotherbear Wrote: Wrote:Two or three years ago, I watched a nature documentary about leopards. This particular program showed leopards of various locations of Africa and Asia. When speaking of the leopards of the tropical African Congo region, the statement was made that of all the creatures of the jungle, the only animal that a leopard fears is the chimpanzee. They went on to say that a troop of chimps can remove a leopard from their territory. 
It is my opinion that when a leopard discovers a lone chimpanzee, the great ape has little chance of survival. But, in mass, the chimps are a force to be reckoned with.

Hi brother bear, man must have been solitary at the time he was struggling for survival during evolution. That must be the time many carnivores must have targeted him as the primates including man were weak bodied comparitively. He became social as the time progressed.

Hi parvez. Our early ancestors could neither outfight nor outrun wild dogs, hyenas, or the big cats. They ( Australopiticus ) had not yet developed weapons. My theory, despite the fact that no one agrees, is that they had an audacious body odor. Perhaps enough that they were not a predators first choice of a meal. They most likely didn't have weapons per say but they did use tools, even sharp rocks for carving meat off bone. From what we were told, it isn't tools that truly created our evolutionary boom (intelligence) but the control of fire. The cooking of meat allowed us to bring out the nutrients unobtainable in raw meat which created an increase in brain size throughout the evolutions of man. It also allowed us to stay in one place and build civilizations. (Allegedly)

@parvez reply
"you seem to be very much updated on present scientific studies. I will contact experts regarding nutrients obtainable in cooked meat are helpful in developing intelligence. I know it helps in easy digestion. But I doubt about intelligence. No hurtings here.

In my view, the consumption of cooked meat led to ease the stress on digestive system. It made brain to work less on digestive system than previously it used to work during consumption of raw meat. Hence the stress on brain may be reduced. This may have given more room for brain to develop itself. "

My response
"You're partially correct @parvez but there are more benefits to eating cooked meat than just for the digestive track, although that is one factor of course.
Here's a couple of nice write ups on it but you can find much more about it I'm sure."
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-na...-72989884/

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/20...tudy-finds


@Polar wrote
"The digestive system of man is actually quite effective at obtaining the maximum nutrients needed without to re-engage in eating feces like some other animals do. Although other animals don't necessarily need to eat their feces to obtain daily nutrients, it is a plus for them to eat feces to absorb the rest of the nutrients. Our system is designed to absorb all the nutrients in one go.

The problem is, though, how did this come about? It is good that you two are postulating possible theories as to why human digestion changed vastly from that of primates, and how this contributed to human mental development, but these are just theories."

My Response
"We get far less nutrients from raw meat compared to cooked meat."

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/20...ng-counts/


Response from Expert @parvez spoke with

*This image is copyright of its original author


My response
"The "expert" Isnt wrong with some points but he certainly doesn't disregard the "theory." A 4oz raw piece of meat will have less calories than the same piece of meat which is cooked and now weighs 3oz.
We are talking about ancient man, they didn't have agriculture yet, they couldn't have a well balanced diet just yet so they needed to have a food source that was easily maintained... meat. Hence why they have high protein diets. Vegans now a days are highly educated, they know which foods like (tempeh, soy, tofu etc.) contain proteins they miss from not eating meats, this wasn't the case millions of years ago. Also note, the meats consumed today are injected with hormones and other poisons to our body which is why they lead to such horrid health issues, one of the main reasons I have been trying to be vegan for the past year.

I have a challenge for you, since I have posted a few studies that show cooked meat to be superior, can you provide anything that would back what you are saying?
I'd be interested in reading that."


@Polar wrote
"On a side note, I get plenty of my protein sources from both meat (flounder, boar meat shipped from Bulgaria, and plenty of chicken) and vegetation/legumes (kale, quinoa, lentils, etc...), with kale being the most numerous vegetation that I consume.

Also, I always thought that raw meat had a greater nutritional yield than cooked meat, and cooked meat had a greater caloric yield than raw meat? At least, that is what I obtained from the past ten posts about this topic?"

My Response "I think I already posted this but here is a comprehensive study on cooked vs raw meat and how it changed us.
http://www.preparedfoods.com/articles/11...s-raw-meat

Cooked meat will yield more energy/calories than raw meat. "


@Polar wrote
"I didn't see any indication that "more energy" equated to "more nutrients" in the article, all I saw was how the greater energy output from cooked meat let the Homo genus grow larger in both body size and brains (but doesn't protein already do this job?). To me (and this is only my personal opinion), raw meat gives off better-preserved animo acid chains, which results in a better protein absorption, a better iron absorption (due to fresh blood on meat), and possibly a better saturated fat absorption (if the raw meat is of a fatty animal such as wild boar)."

My response
"In regards to the "nutrients," I think you're focusing too much on that word.  The cooking of food improves digestion and increases absorption of nutrients.

"Nutrient Content is Often Altered During Cooking
Cooking food improves digestion and increases absorption of many nutrients (1, 2).
For example, protein in cooked eggs is 180% more digestible than in raw eggs (3)."



"Yet there were signs that cooking did affect the calorie counts of some foods. Starches, for instance, like those in wheat, barley, potatoes, and so on, are composed mostly of two sugar-based molecules, amylopectin and amylose, which, when raw, are tightly packed and inaccessible to digestive enzymes. Studies have found that cooking gelatinizes starch, which means that amylopectin and amylose are released and exposed to enzymes. Thus, cooked starches yield more energy than raw ones.
To study how cooking (and processing, like pounding or chopping) affected calories, we turned to mice. They are a good species for this because their diet choices are rather similar to human food preferences. They like grains, roots, fruits and even meat; in the wild, there are populations of mice that get most of their food by eating live albatrosses [video]. Rachel Carmody led a study in which mice were given regular mouse pellets for six days at a time, interrupted by four days of eating sweet potatoes or beef. Half the time the sweet potato or meat was presented raw, and half the time cooked; half the time it was also pounded and half the time unpounded. She and Gil Weintraub carefully measured the exact amount of food eaten by the mice, and then calculated the animals’ gain or loss of weight over four days as a function of the weight of food eaten, using both wet weights and dry weights of food to check the results. For both meat and sweet potato, Rachel found that when the food was cooked the mice gained more weight (or lost less weight) than when it was raw. Pounding had very little effect.
We suspect that there are two major reasons for cooked beef providing more calories than raw beef. In cooked beef, the muscle proteins, like the sugars in cooked starch, have opened up and allowed digestive enzymes to attack their amino acid chains. Cooking also does this for collagen, a protein that makes meat difficult to chew because it forms the connective tissue wrapped around muscle fibers. However, we do not know the exact mechanisms. What we do know, though, is that the mice had a spontaneous preference for eating cooked meat over raw meat, and their choice made sense, given that they fared better on it."
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2...CC20cmozeE


However, cooking can decreases SOME water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins and some minerals
But overall, the benefits for man eating cooked meat over raw is probably the building block to the modern man. "







Ok, that pretty much covers it, lets kick it off from here and see where this thread can lead us.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 11-07-2016, 11:54 PM by Pckts )

My accounts and Images of Oldupai Gorge "the birthplace of man"
(both images taken by me below)

*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author


Oldupai Gorge used to have a massive volcano, you can see the different colored sediment representing a different eruption, 2 layers are missing.
They have found the oldest fossil here, yes, older than Lucy, they have proof of tools, civilization and fossils all found here from different times in Hominids history.



Here is a much more in depth write up on it
http://www.livescience.com/40455-olduvai-gorge.html


I was lucky enough to get an educational speech from a professor who works for the gorge, it was quite educational.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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United States brotherbear Offline
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My Response "I've been to oldupai gorge, if their habitat was similar to how it is now, there was vast grass lands that wouuld of been there, but also rolling hills and mountains as well. There also was a massive volcano present during their time and the other hominids that came after. " 
 
*My thoughts were, and are, if Australopithicus did not live in a heavily wooded environment, where he could scamper swiftly up a tree when threatened by large predators, then he had to have had some other strategy of survival. He could nor outrun the hyenas, wild dogs, and big cats. He certainly could not out fight them. He could jump up and down and scream, but that would not stop them. He could play dead, but they would eat him anyway. He could not swiftly burrow into the ground. The only thing I can think of is perhaps he had such a nasty body odor that caused him not to be first choice on any predator's menu. 
 Grizzly  - Boss of the Woods.
        
  
             
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(11-08-2016, 12:37 AM)brotherbear Wrote: My Response "I've been to oldupai gorge, if their habitat was similar to how it is now, there was vast grass lands that wouuld of been there, but also rolling hills and mountains as well. There also was a massive volcano present during their time and the other hominids that came after. " 
 
*My thoughts were, and are, if Australopithicus did not live in a heavily wooded environment, where he could scamper swiftly up a tree when threatened by large predators, then he had to have had some other strategy of survival. He could nor outrun the hyenas, wild dogs, and big cats. He certainly could not out fight them. He could jump up and down and scream, but that would not stop them. He could play dead, but they would eat him anyway. He could not swiftly burrow into the ground. The only thing I can think of is perhaps he had such a nasty body odor that caused him not to be first choice on any predator's menu. 


What Do the Fossils Say?
Instead of studying living traditional cultures, as Chagnon did, Washington University's Sussman decided to base his research for Man the Hunted on a hard look at the fossil record.
"I have always, since my early days in anthropology, thought the hunting hypothesis was based on little actual evidence from the fossils," Sussman said.
Sussman found that our ancestors from three or four million years ago, Australopithecus afarensis, had small teeth, lacked tools, and were about three feet (one meter) tall.
Lacking size or weapons, this early human species most likely used brains, agility, and social skills to escape from predators, the anthropologist says.
At that time, he says, A. afarensis suffered the same predation rates as many other primate species—about 6 percent.
But about two million years ago there was a shift in the record. Somehow predation rates on other species suddenly went up while rates on human ancestors declined.
Another group of primates with humanlike attributes, the genus Paranthropus, went extinct by about one million years ago—the same time our predecessor, Homo erectus, was expanding across Africa and Eurasia.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/...rey_2.html

All the Angles
Several other researchers presented in St. Louis their work exploring various genetic, hormonal, and psychiatric explanations for early humans' success.
James K. Rilling directs the Laboratory for Darwinian Neuroscience at Emory University in Atlanta. His brain-imaging studies have revealed a potential connection between the act of cooperating and the brain's reward centers.
If prehistoric humans got instant gratification from cooperating, he says, that may have aided group survival.
And Charles Snowdon, a psychologist and zoologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, pointed out that expectant monkey fathers gain weight and take on hormonal changes along with their pregnant partners.
The study offers evidence that these primates evolved to be good fathers, an important attribute for protecting young from predators.
Snowdon's endocrine studies have also shown that the likelihood that male primates will dally with new females decreases when the male already has a mate—and still more when the pair is raising offspring.
It's possible a similar system of mate fidelity aided the group cohesion needed to minimize predation in early humans, he said.
The University of Arizona's Fry says the notion that early humans relied on cooperation changes more than the widespread image of a club-toting early human in a warlike stance.
He believes it has implications for today's human interactions.
"Many of us Westerners share a view of human nature that humans are naturally warlike," Fry said. "This view helps perpetuate a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Changing our perspective to match the anthropological record, he said, "opens new possibilities in today's world."
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Here is an awesome write up on everything we are discussing here... Take a look




Meat-Eating Among the Earliest Humans
Evidence of meat-eating among our distant human ancestors is hard to find and even harder to interpret, but researchers are beginning to piece together a coherent picture.
Briana Pobiner

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*This image is copyright of its original author

Over the course of six million years of human evolution, brain size increased 300 percent. Our huge, complex brains can store and process decades worth of information in split seconds, solve multifactorial problems, and create abstract ideas and images. This would have been a big advantage to early humans as they were spreading out across Africa and into Asia just under two million years ago, encountering unfamiliar habitats, novel carnivore competitors, and different prey animals. Yet our large brains come at a cost, making childbirth more difficult and painful for human mothers than for our nearest evolutionary kin. Modern human brains take up only about 2 percent of our body weight as adults, but use about 20 percent of our energy. Such a disproportionate use of resources calls for investigation. For years, my colleagues and I have explored the idea that meat-eating may have played a role in this unusual aspect of human biology.

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*This image is copyright of its original author

In 1995, Leslie Aiello and Peter Wheeler developed the expensive tissue hypothesis to explain how our huge brains evolved without bringing about a tremendous increase in our rate of metabolism. Aiello, then of University College London, and Wheeler, then of Liverpool John Moores University, proposed that the energetic requirements of a large brain may have been offset by a reduction in the size of the liver and gastrointestinal tract; these organs, like the brain, have metabolically expensive tissues. Because gut size is correlated with diet, and small guts necessitate a diet focused on high-quality food that is easy to digest, Aiello and Wheeler reasoned that the nutritionally dense muscle mass of other animals was the key food that allowed the evolution of our large brains. Without the abundance of calories afforded by meat-eating, they maintain, the human brain simply could not have evolved to its current form.
Although the modern “paleodiet” movement often claims that our ancestors ate large amounts of meat, we still don’t know the proportion of meat in the diet of any early human species, nor how frequently meat was eaten. Modern hunter-gatherers have incredibly varied diets, some of which include fairly high amounts of meat, but many of which don’t. Still, we do know that meat-eating was one of the most pivotal changes in our ancestors’ diets and that it led to many of the physical, behavioral, and ecological changes that make us uniquely human.
Our Omnivorous Ancestors
The diet of our earliest ancestors, who lived about six million years ago in Africa, was probably much like that of chimpanzees, our closest living primate cousins, who generally inhabit forest and wet savanna environments in equatorial Africa. Chimpanzees mainly eat fruit and other plant parts such as leaves, flowers, and bark, along with nuts and insects. Meat from the occasional animal forms only about 3 percent of the average chimpanzee’s diet. In 2009, Claudio Tennie, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and his colleagues developed a hypothesis that offered a nutritional perspective on the group hunting they had observed in the chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, in Tanzania. According to this hypothesis, the micronutrients gained from meat are so important that even small scraps of meat are worth the very high energy expenditure that cooperative hunting entails. Important components of meat include not only vitamins A and K, calcium, sodium, and potassium, but also iron, zinc, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12; the latter, although necessary for a balanced primate diet, is present only in small quantities in plants. In addition, macronutrients such as fat and protein, hard to come by in the environments where chimpanzees live, may be important dietary components of meat-eating.

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*This image is copyright of its original author

The fossil record offers evidence that meat-eating by humans differs from chimpanzees’ meat-eating in four crucial ways. First, even the earliest evidence of meat-eating indicates that early humans were consuming not only small animals but also animals many times larger than their own body size, such as elephants, rhinos, buffalo, and giraffes, whereas chimpanzees only hunt animals much smaller than themselves. Second, early humans generally used tools when they procured and processed meat. (Of course, meat-eating by human ancestors could have taken place before early humans developed the ability to procure meat by means of tools —but so far no one has determined whether the fossil record would show any evidence of it or what the evidence would look like.) Third, as we will see later, it’s likely that much of the first meat eaten by early humans came not from hunting but from scavenging; by contrast, observations of chimpanzees scavenging are extremely rare. Fourth, like humans today, our early ancestors didn’t always eat food as soon as they encountered it. Sometimes they brought it back to a central place or home base, presumably to share with members of their social group, including unrelated adults. This behavior, the delaying of food consumption, is not observed in chimpanzees, and it holds important implications for how these early humans interacted with one another socially.


Hunters or Scavengers?
The investigation of early human meat-eating in Africa began in 1925, with the earliest discovery of human fossils there. Raymond Dart, a professor of anatomy at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, named a new early human species Australopithecus africanus (meaning “southern ape from Africa”) after a small fossil skull from the site of Taung. The skull has since been identified as that of a three-year-old child who died about 2.8 million years ago. In other fossils at the same site Dart saw evidence of meat-eating, such as baboon skulls bearing signs of fracture and removal of the brain case prior to fossilization, with v-shaped marks on the broken edges and small puncture marks in the skull vault. He concluded the Taung child had belonged to a predatory, cave-dwelling species he described as “an animal-hunting, flesh-eating, shell-cracking and bone-breaking ape” and “a practised and skilful wielder of lethal weapons of the chase.” The concept of the killer ape was born.

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Also put forth as evidence for early human hunting are patterns in the types of animal bones found in the fossil record at early human sites in East and South Africa; such patterns are called skeletal part profiles. The bulk of the data came from the well-known site of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, excavated by the famous duo Mary and Louis Leakey, mainly in the 1950s. Three decades later Henry Bunn, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studied the animal fossils from 1.8-million-year-old sediments at the site known as FLK Zinj (after a fossil found there that had at one time been designated Zinjanthropus). He inferred from the abundance of meat- and marrow-rich limb bones that early humans had had first choice among the parts of these animal carcasses by virtue of having hunted them.
This interpretation was supported by simple stone tools the Leakeys had found in the same deposits. The Oldowan technology (named for these kinds of tools, found at Olduvai Gorge) includes sharp stone knives, or flakes; cores from which those flakes were struck; and fist-sized rounded hammerstones used to strike the flakes from the cores. These seemingly basic tools allowed early humans to gain access to a much broader array of foods. The sharp flakes could be used to slice meat from bones or to whittle sticks to dig for underground roots or water; the cores and hammerstones could be used to process plants and bash open bones to get access to the fat-rich marrow and brains inside.
A problem came up as early as 1957, however, when Sherwood Washburn, of the University of California, Berkeley, reported on carnivore kills he observed in Wankie Game Reserve in (then) Rhodesia. He noticed that the parts of skeletons most often remaining more or less intact after carnivores had eaten their fill were skulls and lower jaws, the least edible parts of the animals. According to Washburn, the meat-bearing bones, often broken up, that Dart had found in australopithecine deposits must have been brought there by some other animal and not the australopithecines—perhaps hyenas, which he and others had observed accumulating such bones around their dens.
In 1981, C. K. “Bob” Brain published a seminal book titled The Hunters or the Hunted?, which came to the same conclusions. After studying a large collection of goat bones in the central Namib desert that had been discarded by modern people and then chewed by dogs, Brain hypothesized that the skeletal part profiles could best be attributed to the durability of those particular bones themselves, rather than to selection by early human hunters. Brain applied a similar explanation to fossil assemblages from early human sites in the Transvaal region of South Africa. In his view, a number of nonhuman agencies that could cause accumulations in modern caves had done so in these fossil assemblages: fluvial activity, carnivores such as hyenas and leopards, porcupines, owls, and natural deaths. It was clear that more evidence was needed to evaluate whether early human activities were in fact responsible for the accumulation of animal fossils at prehistoric sites.

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*This image is copyright of its original author

In that same year, 1981, incontrovertible evidence of early human butchery came to light, in the form of linear striations on fossils which were identified as cut marks made by the stone tools found in abundance at the FLK Zinj site. Bunn and, in a separate study, Rick Potts from the Smithsonian Institution and Pat Shipman from Pennsylvania State University, used a scanning electron microscope to demonstrate that these marks were different from the shallow, chaotically oriented scratches seen on some fossils. This sedimentary abrasion is thought to be the result of sand grains rubbing against the bones as they tumbled around in rivers or were trampled on by animals. The cut marks, by contrast, were shorter, deeper, and often located on the parts of bones where muscles attach. They seemed to show conclusively that early humans were proficient hunters of the extinct antelopes, zebras, and similar animals found alongside the early human fossils and stone tools in the 1.8-million-year-old deposits.
Although more than one kind of early human had been found at Olduvai, for several decades the thousands of Oldowan stone tools and hundreds of cut-marked bones were attributed exclusively to the fossils of our genus, Homo. With a new report of a jaw from the site of Ledi Geraru in the Afar region of Ethiopia, the fossil evidence of our genus now extends back 2.8 million years. Until recently, Ethiopia has also yielded the earliest evidence of stone tools and cut marks on animal fossils (from 2.5 to 2.6 million years ago) at the sites of Bouri and Gona, and the earliest Oldowan stone tools from Gona, dated to 2.5 million years ago. Altogether, a tidy package of archaeological evidence of the earliest butchery and stone tools—in other words, carnivory—seems to have emerged by at least 2.5 million years ago with the origins of our genus.

Further Back in Time
This package suddenly took on considerably greater antiquity, however, when a team headed by Zeresenay Alemseged, of the California Academy of Sciences, announced a new finding in 2010. The site of Dikika, in Ethiopia, had yielded two bones, each with multiple cut marks, from sediments dated at 3.4 million years old. This evidence pushed back the date for the earliest human meat-eating by 800,000 years—earlier than the advent of genus Homo—thereby jeopardizing the idea that using stone tools to butcher and eat large animals was unique to our genus. The researchers knew skeptics might scoff at so few cut marked bones, even with the presence of a stone chip embedded in one of the cut marks, so they subjected the fossils to rigorous investigation. They compared them with experimental collections of cut-marked bones, subjected the marks to independent “blind tests” by experts who didn’t know the age or geographic location of the fossils, and used sophisticated microscopy and spectrometry to show the antiquity of the marks. When critics noted that no stone tools were found with the cut marked fossils, the group suggested early humans may have used naturally sharp stones for butchery, and argued that meat consumption and stone tool use may have predated stone tool manufacture. These cut marks are the same age as the fossils of Australopithecus afarensis found in nearby deposits at Dikika. The game-changing conclusion of this evidence was that Homo had not been the only meat-eater among human ancestors; Australopithecus had also been capable of butchering and eating animals, if only on rare occasions.
Additional support for this claim came to light last year, when Sonia Harmand of Stony Brook University and her team reported that they had found 149 stone tools dating back to 3.3 million years ago from the site of Lomekwi, Kenya. The flakes they found showed clear signs of having been intentionally removed from the cores; according to the research team, they could not have resulted from accidental rock fracture. In one remarkable instance, researchers found both a flake and the core from which it had been struck; the two still fit together perfectly. The cores found at Lomekwi, however, are much larger and heavier than typical Oldowan ones and would have been difficult to flake by means of the technique that had probably been used to make Oldowan tools. The Stony Brook team concluded these tools were made mainly by early humans raising large rocks above their heads and bringing them down onto a hard surface to fracture them, much the way chimpanzees and other primates today crack open nuts with stones. This newly identified type of stone tool tradition, now known as Lomekwian, is hundreds of thousands of years older than any Homo fossils; the only early human species found in the West Turkana region at this time is Kenyanthropus platyops, known from only a few fossils but broadly similar in anatomy to australopithecines.

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

The earliest evidence of what we might call persistent carnivory—part of the intensification and expansion of meat-eating—comes from Kanjera South, a research site in Kenya run by Rick Potts of the Smithsonian Institution and Tom Plummer of Queens College at the City University of New York. In 2013, Joe Ferraro of Baylor University, Potts, Plummer, and I and other colleagues announced that we had documented this evidence on more than 3,700 animal fossils and 2,900 stone tools in three separate layers going back about two million years. The archaeological and fossil evidence includes dozens of bones bearing cut marks and percussion marks. The indications are clear that early humans, most likely Homo habilis or Homo erectus (given the time period), processed more than 50 animal carcasses during repeated visits to the same location over hundreds to thousands of years. Most of the carcasses were fairly complete small (goat-sized) antelopes, along with some parts of larger (reindeer-sized) antelopes.
Yet the Oldowan stone tools found alongside butchered bones at Kanjera and dozens of other sites in Africa do not seem suitable for hunting; these tools were most likely used for cutting and pounding, and Oldowan technology did not include spears or arrowheads. If early humans weren’t hunting the animals they were eating, how did they get access to them?
Some years before our finds at Kanjera, Rob Blumenschine, then of Rutgers University, had studied the leftovers of kills eaten by large carnivores in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro and proposed that early humans could have scavenged flesh scraps and marrow from these kills. Other, less common opportunities for scavenging could have included animals that died by drowning in rivers or from diseases or other natural causes. Between one- and two-million years ago the large carnivore communities of the African savanna consisted not only of lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs, as we see today, but also at least three species of saber-toothed cats, including one that was significantly larger than the largest male African lions. These cats may have hunted larger prey, leaving even more leftovers for early humans to scavenge.
Early humans might have stolen prime dinner fare from these formidable opponents in a couple of different ways. One way would have been to confront carnivores as they were in the midst of eating their prey and somehow chase them off. The early humans could have accomplished this by throwing stones or sticks, rushing the predators in a big group, waving their arms and making lots of noise, or even ambushing them. This presumably would have yielded large portions of meat, especially from larger prey animals. In another, more passive approach, early humans could have waited until the coast was clear and the carnivores had left the area to safely move in and take what was left over. This seems a reasonable strategy, but it leaves open the question of whether such passive scavenging have been worth an early human’s time and energy.

Rewards of Scavenging
I decided to pursue this question by documenting the resources left over from carnivore kills in a different African ecosystem from Blumenschine’s and others’ studies in Tanzania, because those had taken place in areas of some of the highest carnivore competition on Earth today. In order to model what scavenging opportunities may have been like at times in the past when the carnivore community was dominated by felids (big cats and their relatives, including sabertooths), as has been indicated in some areas where early humans butchered animals, I went to a private game reserve in Kenya that is now called Ol Pejeta Conservancy. There, lions were common but hyenas were rare. I spent about seven months simulating passive scavenging by waiting until the carnivores had eaten their fill and moved off, and then documenting how much meat and marrow was left on carcasses. It turns out there was a lot! In my sample of lion kills of larger animals, mainly zebras, I found that 95 percent of bones were abandoned with at least some flesh remaining on them, and over 50 percent had significant amounts of meat left. Most of the other bones had scraps; hardly any bones were totally defleshed. The average zebra hindlimb, for example, contains almost 23 kilograms of meat, so even when 90 percent of it has been consumed, it could still yield up 2.28 kilograms of meat—and that’s only from one hindlimb. An entire zebra carcass could yield almost 15 kilograms of meat in scraps of various sizes. Using an estimate of four calories per gram of flesh, this would provide more than 60,000 calories from a zebra carcass. That’s almost 107 Big Macs—enough for the entire daily caloric requirements of about 27 male Homo erectus if each individual required approximately 2,090 to 2,290 calories per day, as has been previously estimated.

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

With a slight change of tactics, early humans may have scavenged from another carnivore as well. Whereas lions, hyenas, and wild dogs all live in social groups, have high intragroup competition when eating their prey, and spend most or all of their time on the ground, leopards behave differently. Instead they are solitary, and in some areas (probably to avoid competition with larger predators) they hoist their kill into trees and store them there for a few days, returning periodically to eat them. In the early 1990s, Blumenschine and his then-graduate student John Cavallo postulated that for early human species that retained tree-climbing abilities, such as australopithecines and probably Homo habilis, scavenging from these kills would have been a relatively low-risk proposition. It’s true that leopard prey tends to be smaller than that of lions and hyenas, and the extent of meat available from tree-stored leopard kills has yet to be well-documented (although I observed quite a bit of meat left on my few leopard samples from Ol Pejeta Conservancy); nevertheless, I suspect this may have been part of the overall early human scavenging regime.

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

Not only the meat on bones but the marrow inside them would have been an important source of nutrition for early humans. It was Blumenschine, this time with then-graduate student Marie Selvaggio, who in 1988 first recognized percussion marks on animal fossils: pits and striations left from bashing bones open with baseball-sized hammerstones to gain access to marrow. Blumenschine, together with then-graduate student Cregg Madrigal, further noted in 1993 that the skeletal part profiles Bunn claimed were indications of access to the meatiest bones at FLK Zinj also reflected the bones that contained the most fat-rich marrow. If, as it seems, the early humans at sites such as FLK Zinj had access mainly to bones that had already been stripped of most of their meat by larger carnivores, the calorie-rich marrow in these bones may still have been available to creatures ingenious enough get to it. This behavior would fall in line with what we have documented at Kanjera South, where early humans transported not only limb bones but also the isolated remains of the heads of larger prey animals to the archaeological site before breaking them open and consuming the brains, taking advantage of another resource that even the largest African carnivores were unable to exploit.
We think that early humans at Kanjera probably had early access to small animals, such as goat-sized gazelles, two million years ago. The ancient butchery marks on these smaller animals, often juveniles, are mostly on the bones from which meat is eaten early in the typical sequence of consumption by wild carnivores (as was observed by Blumenschine and confirmed by my own observations). They were probably not scavenged; if carnivores had fed on them first, very little would have been left of these bones at all. Whether the animals were deliberately hunted, and by what means, we still don’t know: Maybe the early humans were hiding in trees or behind bushes and throwing rocks to dispatch them. By contrast, we think the larger animals at Kanjera were probably scavenged, because they display butchery marks on the bones that are usually eaten toward the end of the carnivore consumption sequence.
At some point, though, there must have been a shift in the ways early humans obtained meat, because the fossil record clearly shows that our ancestors were getting access to the best parts of larger animals by at least 1.5 million years ago. In an article published in 2008, I examined butchery patterns on more than 6,000 animal bones from three sites at Koobi Fora, Kenya, that date back to that period.
*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author
The early humans there (probably Homo erectus) butchered many different bones from animals both large and small; at least nine different animals had been transported to each site for consumption. The result was more than 300 bones that showed signs of butchering, including a number of the choicest bones—those from which the meat is usually eaten first by carnivores.
The presence of numerous cut marks and percussion marks, along with very few carnivore tooth marks, makes it clear that early humans were the ones processing the meatier parts of the carcasses; if carnivores were getting any access to them at all, it was probably rare, and only after the early humans had finished with them. On one limb bone, a carnivore tooth mark was found directly on top of a cut mark, indicating the early human was there first. The early humans were not choosing these parts to the exclusion of others (hence the presence of smaller, less meaty bones as well), so it appears they tended to extract all the resources they could, including marrow. The thorough processing suggests, in fact, that early humans were able to control specific places on the landscape where they could carry out this task.
As for the tooth marks from several species of large mammalian carnivores and crocodiles on some of the butchered bones from various archaeological sites in Africa, such marks constitute unequivocal evidence that our meat-eating ancestors were directly competing with carnivores for prey carcasses. It is also clear that at least some of the time these encounters did not end well for them; several early human fossils bear tooth marks from predators that presumably caused their demise. In a striking example of predation upon human ancestors, a 1995 paper by Lee Berger and Ron Clarke of the University of the Witwatersrand describes evidence of an eagle attack that can be seen on the skull of the Taung child. It’s both sad and ironic that this small child, whose fossilized skull had inspired Dart’s vision of our murderous ancestors, turned out to be the lowly meal of a large bird of prey.

When Cooking Became Crucial
For a long time, it was assumed that all of the meat, marrow, and brains in the early human diet came from terrestrial mammals. After studying patterns in fatty acid composition of aquatic food, however, Josephine Joordens of Leiden University and her colleagues proposed in 2014 that eating fatty fish could have significantly increased the availability of certain long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), which helped to support the initial moderate increase in brain size of early humans about 2 million years ago.
Four years earlier, David Braun of the George Washington University and his colleagues announced that they had discovered the earliest evidence of human butchery of aquatic animals. At a 1.95-million-year-old site in Koobi Fora, Kenya, they found evidence that early humans were butchering turtles, crocodiles, and fish, along with land-dwelling animals. Aquatic animals are rich in nutrients needed in human brain growth, such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), one of the most abundant LC-PUFAs in our brains.
It’s around this time that we see in the fossil record (based mainly on rib and pelvis fossils) a reduction of the size of the gut areas in Homo erectus, the early human species credited with consistently incorporating animal foods into its diet. This species evolved a smaller, more efficient digestive tract, which likely released a constraint on energy and permitted larger brain growth, as predicted by the expensive tissue hypothesis. Yet the increase in brain size we see in the fossil record at about 2 million years ago is basically tracking body size; while absolute brain size was increasing, relative brain size was not. Maybe meat was not completely responsible—so what was?
Perhaps it was the shift from eating antelope steak tartare to barbecuing it. There are hints of human-controlled fires at a few sites dating back to between one and two million years ago in eastern and southern Africa, but the first solid evidence comes from a one-million-year-old site called Wonderwerk Cave, in South Africa. In 2012, Francesco Berna, then of Boston University, and his colleagues reported bits of ash from burnt grass, leaves, brush, and bone fragments inside the cave. Microscopic study showed that the small ash fragments are well preserved and have jagged edges, indicating that they were not first burned outside the cave and blown or washed in, as those jagged edges would have been worn away. Also, this evidence comes from about 30 meters inside the cave, where lightning could not have ignited the fire.
Soon after that, the 790,000 year old site of Gesher-Benot Ya’aqov in Israel yielded evidence of debris from ancient stone tools that had been burned by fire. Nearby to the burnt tools were concentrations of scorched seeds and six kinds of wood, including three edible plants (olive, wild barley, and wild grape), from more than a dozen early hearths. This marks the first time that early humans came back to the same location repeatedly to cook over these early campfires. Hearths are more than just primitive stoves; they can provide safety from predators, be a warm and comforting location, and serve as places to exchange information.
Cooking was unquestionably a revolution in our dietary history. Cooking makes food both physically and chemically easier to chew and digest, enabling the extraction of more energy from the same amount of food. It can also release more of some nutrients than the same foods eaten raw and can render poisonous plants palatable. Cooking would have inevitably decreased the amount of time necessary to forage for the same number of calories. In his 2009 book Catching Fire, primatologist Richard Wrangham postulates that cooking was what allowed our brains to get big. It turns out that using fossil skulls to measure brain size, we see the biggest increase in brain size in our evolutionary history right after we see the earliest evidence for cooking in the archaeological record, so he may be on to something. Modern human bodies are so adapted to cooked foods that we have difficulty reproducing while on an exclusive diet of raw foods. For example, a 1999 study found that about 30 percent of reproductive-age women on a long-term raw-food diet had partial to complete amenorrhea, which was probably related to their low body weight.
From pilfered-from-predators to processed-and-packaged, animals have been part of human diets for more than 3 million years. To fill in a more detailed picture of meat-eating among our primate ancestors, we need to find additional prehistoric sites with cut-marked fossils so that we can begin to understand how butchering—and, later, cooking—may have related to the environments in which early humans were living. Just as important are modern-day experiments in butchering with stone tools, which help us better interpret the cut and percussion marks on animal fossils. My own next steps include finding more butchery marked fossils in the field, studying such fossils that already exist in museum collections, and helping to design and carry out butchery experiments, all with the goal of getting to the root of our meat-eating ancestry.

http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/...est-humans
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United States brotherbear Offline
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Lacking size or weapons, this early human species most likely used brains, agility, and social skills to escape from predators, the anthropologist says. 
 
Sounds good. Now, explain this; a troop of Australopithicus, lets say a group of thirty individuals ( a rather large group ), six dominant males, eight young-adult females, eight older individuals of both sexes, and eight juveniles. They are suddenly confronted by a pride of lions, sixteen lionesses, a coalition of four big males, and a host of cubs. 
Exactly how do these 'early human ancestors' use their brains and social skills to outwit the lions? 
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(11-08-2016, 01:04 AM)brotherbear Wrote: Lacking size or weapons, this early human species most likely used brains, agility, and social skills to escape from predators, the anthropologist says. 
 
Sounds good. Now, explain this; a troop of Australopithicus, lets say a group of thirty individuals ( a rather large group ), six dominant males, eight young-adult females, eight older individuals of both sexes, and eight juveniles. They are suddenly confronted by a pride of lions, sixteen lionesses, a coalition of four big males, and a host of cubs. 
Exactly how do these 'early human ancestors' use their brains and social skills to outwit the lions? 

How do primates avoid predation now?

I would assume that they would have look outs, alarm calls, escape routes and safe zones (areas not easy for predators to follow) and all would contribute to their safety, but that certainly doesn't mean that they wouldn't fall victim from time to time. I don't think anyone is disagreeing with that.
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(11-08-2016, 01:27 AM)Pckts Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 01:04 AM)brotherbear Wrote: Lacking size or weapons, this early human species most likely used brains, agility, and social skills to escape from predators, the anthropologist says. 
 
Sounds good. Now, explain this; a troop of Australopithicus, lets say a group of thirty individuals ( a rather large group ), six dominant males, eight young-adult females, eight older individuals of both sexes, and eight juveniles. They are suddenly confronted by a pride of lions, sixteen lionesses, a coalition of four big males, and a host of cubs. 
Exactly how do these 'early human ancestors' use their brains and social skills to outwit the lions? 

How do primates avoid predation now?

I would assume that they would have look outs, alarm calls, escape routes and safe zones (areas not easy for predators to follow) and all would contribute to their safety, but that certainly doesn't mean that they wouldn't fall victim from time to time. I don't think anyone is disagreeing with that.

The only large primates living in a similar environment today are baboons. Sometimes, the mature males must face-off against predators. If not a bad smell, then there is something we are not looking at. Fossil bones give us a great deal of information. They tell us that Australopithicus was neither built for fighting nor a quick escape. They tell us what he couldn't do, but not what he could do. Bones don't lie, but neither do they give us a complete book of information.
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(11-08-2016, 02:38 AM)brotherbear Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 01:27 AM)Pckts Wrote:
(11-08-2016, 01:04 AM)brotherbear Wrote: Lacking size or weapons, this early human species most likely used brains, agility, and social skills to escape from predators, the anthropologist says. 
 
Sounds good. Now, explain this; a troop of Australopithicus, lets say a group of thirty individuals ( a rather large group ), six dominant males, eight young-adult females, eight older individuals of both sexes, and eight juveniles. They are suddenly confronted by a pride of lions, sixteen lionesses, a coalition of four big males, and a host of cubs. 
Exactly how do these 'early human ancestors' use their brains and social skills to outwit the lions? 

How do primates avoid predation now?

I would assume that they would have look outs, alarm calls, escape routes and safe zones (areas not easy for predators to follow) and all would contribute to their safety, but that certainly doesn't mean that they wouldn't fall victim from time to time. I don't think anyone is disagreeing with that.

The only large primates living in a similar environment today are baboons. Sometimes, the mature males must face-off against predators. If not a bad smell, then there is something we are not looking at. Fossil bones give us a great deal of information. They tell us that Australopithicus was neither built for fighting nor a quick escape. They tell us what he couldn't do, but not what he could do. Bones don't lie, but neither do they give us a complete book of information.

I'm not sure where you get that they "tell us they aren't built for quick escape?"

Summary:Australopithecus afarensis was an upright walking species, but the question of whether it also spent much of its time in trees has been the subject of much debate. For the first time, scientists have thoroughly examined the two complete shoulder blades of the fossil "Selam." Analyses of these rare bones showed them to be quite apelike, suggesting that this species was adapted to climbing trees in addition to walking bipedally when on the ground.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20...150353.htm

Early Human 'Lucy' Swung from the Trees
http://www.livescience.com/24297-early-h...trees.html

Chimps, Gorillas, Baboon, Gibbons all live in similar environments and africa isn't just teaming with predators at every stop, you have to travel far and search to find them, herbivores will always outnumber predators. Australopithecus wasn't some clumsy creature with no agility, it survived because it adapted to do so. Skunks spray odor, Puffer fish expand, Porcupines have quills, bovine have horns, toads release poison and so on. These defense mechanisms may work some times but they don't work all the time, in fact, many predators become specialized hunters of said species. So even if your hypothesis on "body odor" were to be true, it wouldn't change the fact that they would still need more than that to survive. And I see no theories that point in that direction any way, so I'm not sure why that is your theory?
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I'm not sure where you get that they "tell us they aren't built for quick escape?"

Summary:Australopithecus afarensis was an upright walking species, but the question of whether it also spent much of its time in trees has been the subject of much debate. For the first time, scientists have thoroughly examined the two complete shoulder blades of the fossil "Selam." Analyses of these rare bones showed them to be quite apelike, suggesting that this species was adapted to climbing trees in addition to walking bipedally when on the ground. 
 
OK; so now it is being said that these man-like-apes or ape-like-men lived in forested locations. Documentaries that I have watched had them living on the open savanna. Along with their fossilized bones, was there not other fossils giving us a picture of their environment? 
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( This post was last modified: 11-08-2016, 06:10 AM by Pckts )

(11-08-2016, 05:54 AM)brotherbear Wrote: I'm not sure where you get that they "tell us they aren't built for quick escape?"

Summary:Australopithecus afarensis was an upright walking species, but the question of whether it also spent much of its time in trees has been the subject of much debate. For the first time, scientists have thoroughly examined the two complete shoulder blades of the fossil "Selam." Analyses of these rare bones showed them to be quite apelike, suggesting that this species was adapted to climbing trees in addition to walking bipedally when on the ground. 
 
OK; so now it is being said that these man-like-apes or ape-like-men lived in forested locations. Documentaries that I have watched had them living on the open savanna. Along with their fossilized bones, was there not other fossils giving us a picture of their environment? 

There are many trees in the Serengetti, does a leopard only live in the forest?
Like I said in the Wildlife Experience thread, when you're in the serengeti the landscape changes rapidly, you will go from dry, wooded forests, to open grasslands to a random watery oasis then massive boulders and mountains and then back again.
At the Oldupai Museum you can see many fossils of the animals that lived there

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Here's a nice shot of the surrounding area

*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author

Don't forget there was also couple of massive volcanoes there as well

Here's a rough sketch

*This image is copyright of its original author

http://www.olduvai-gorge.org/hwkee.html
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India parvez Offline
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( This post was last modified: 11-08-2016, 11:51 AM by parvez )

I read somewhere raw meat helps more in compact body mass building. Where as cooked meat helps in normal body building. Can anyone please clarify if It is true?
Raw meat as per some sources contains B complex vitamins that are heat sensitive. So that may be the disadvantage in consuming cooked meat. Heat sensitive nutrients and compounds may not be available.
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( This post was last modified: 11-08-2016, 01:00 PM by Vinay )

My theory 

Homo erectus divided into two groups long ago 

1.African Negreto(Sc. term) runners in Savanna 

2.European Neanderthal (White) Hunters in cold areas

Even today Africans are best runners and Europeans are intelligent species because they need clothes and caves in winter/night  and they hunt for survival.

brotherbear

Lacking size or weapons, this early human species most likely used brains, agility, and social skills to escape from predators, the anthropologist says. 
 
Sounds good. Now, explain this; a troop of Australopithicus, lets say a group of thirty individuals ( a rather large group ), six dominant males, eight young-adult females, eight older individuals of both sexes, and eight juveniles. They are suddenly confronted by a pride of lions, sixteen lionesses, a coalition of four big males, and a host of cubs. 
Exactly how do these 'early human ancestors' use their brains and social skills to outwit the lions? 

================================
In the above case I as dominant male has only one option to safe guard my species (Africa runner not EU hunters)

1. Push all older women to lions 
2. All older men  
3. All younger boys 
4. Myself 
5. Young females
6. Last Girl child will die. 
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