If you’ve adopted the principles of the Paleo diet and have become a lean, mean, meat-eating machine, then take a look at this research from The Quarterly Review of Biology. Scientists are claiming early humans simply ate whatever they could find, acquiring enough calories to survive and reproduce, and consuming a diet very similar to modern-day pigs and bears, the Daily Mail reports.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Paleo diet (i.e have been living under a rock; sorry, couldn’t resist a caveman joke), the essential Paleo diet shopping list consists mostly of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats—basically what we think early humans may have eaten. There are a few discrepancies, though.
Obviously, early humans didn’t live nearly as long as we do. They also weren’t great hunters and their teeth weren’t designed for eating certain plant foods. But more importantly, there are many environmental factors.
‘When you’re trying to reconstruct the diet of human ancestors, you want to look at a number of things, including the habitats they lived in, the potential foods that were available, how valuable those various food items would have been in relation to their energy content and how long it takes to handle a food item,” Ken Sayers, a postdoctoral researcher from Georgia State University said.
Early humans living in the geographic North had an almost exclusive animal-based diet, while those near the equator ate mostly plants and fruits. Early humans were Jacks-of-all-trades, more scavenging gatherers than skilled hunters.
What scientists are trying to stress is that anyone reconstructing an “ancestral” diet needs to look at things holistically; consider long-term effects and recognize that ancestral diets changed significantly over time. If Twinkies grew on trees millions of years ago, you better believe early humans would be scarfing those down, well, like hot cakes.