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Nutritional influences in the geographic dispersal of Pleistocene man

, : Nutritional influences in the geographic dispersal of Pleistocene man. Ecology of food and nutrition8(1): 71-99

Originally the genus Homo was confined to tropical and subtropical areas where the basic primate plant foods were available year-round. Early Pleistocene man differed from other primates in his propensity and ability to add animal protein to his diet, using the cutting edges of cracked pebbles to scavenge carnivore kills, and probably by capturing small animals directly. By the Mid-Pleistocene, the skills of H. erectus in scavenging/hunting had improved to a point where the species could acquire enough meat to tide them through northern winters. Fortunately, animal flesh provided enough vitamin C to prevent scurvy. From the middle to the end of the Pleistocene, human diets at northern latitudes cycled between 100% meat in winter (high in protein and fat) and mixed plant and animal foods in summer (high in protein, low in fat). The superb hunting skills achieved by H. sapiens sapiens in the Late Pleistocene enabled our species to colonize every region in the world that offered habitat to other animals.


DOI: 10.1080/03670244.1999.9991571

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