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User Icon     Posted 7 months ago     by Jim Hook     

Hunters are from the Stone Ages - its official!

For those of us who hunt, we just know there is something deeper in our consciousness that propels us to go out in search of our food. Its often cited that humans were first and foremost carnivores, and that it wasn't until we started to hunter gather did we look towards vegetables to supplement our diet. However, scientists in Israel have now determined that humans weren't just any old carnivore, but rather hyper carnivores!

The scientists, through analysis of human biology, metabolism, physiology and morphology, have determined that Stone Age humans were apex predators who lived on an almost exclusive meat diet. Hunting of large animals, such as elephants, was the order of the day and continued for some two million years. It wasn't until about eighty five thousand years ago that we started to transition to hunter gathering and adding vegetables to our diet. Interestingly, this wasn't done through choice but rather necessity due to the extinction of megafauna which in turn resulted in a decline of animal populations (probably aided by humans hunting).

For me this explains, at least to a degree, why the 'need' to hunt is still so strong within many of us. Whilst we adapt physically over hundreds of years, our DNA takes a lot longer and it seems that ten thousand years of farming isn't long enough to undo two million years of apex hunting! Like you, I'm not surprised about that, but it does make you wonder why others are!

Hunters often cite our incisor teeth as an example of our meat eating credentials. However, a better indication, identified in the research, may be the high level of acidity in our stomachs which is needed to break down meat along with our distribution of lots of small fat cells instead of a low number of large ones; the former being found in predators and the latter in omnivores.

Professor Ran Barkai from the Archeology Department at Tel Aviv University nicely summarises the report:

“For many people today, the Paleolithic diet is a critical issue, not only with regard to the past, but also concerning the present and future. It is hard to convince a devout vegetarian that his/her ancestors were not vegetarians, and people tend to confuse personal beliefs with scientific reality. Our study is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. We propose a picture that is unprecedented in its inclusiveness and breadth, which clearly shows that humans were initially apex predators, who specialised in hunting large animals.”

In essence I, possibly like you, am more akin to Stone Age man than 21st Century iPad man! I can live with that.

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