Scientists ‘Surprised’ to Discover Very Early Ancestors Survived On Tropical Plants

ScienceDaily:

Dec. 14, 2012 — Researchers involved in a new study led by Oxford University have found that between three million and 3.5 million years ago, the diet of our very early ancestors in central Africa is likely to have consisted mainly of tropical grasses and sedges. The findings are published in the early online edition ofProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

An international research team extracted information from the fossilised teeth of threeAustralopithecus bahrelghazaliindividuals — the first early hominins excavated at two sites in Chad. Professor Julia Lee-Thorp from Oxford University with researchers from Chad, France and the US analysed the carbon isotope ratios in the teeth and found the signature of a diet rich in foods derived from C4plants.

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