The Paleolithic diet, eating like our ancient ancestors, is a diet fad that seeks to emulate the diet of early humans during the Stone Age. But what does that mean? Almost anything people want because ancestral diets differed substantially over time and geography, notes a paper in The Quarterly Review of Biology.
The review examines anatomical, paleoenvironmental and chemical evidence, as well as the feeding behavior of living animals. While early hominids were not great hunters, and their dentition was not great for exploiting many specific categories of plant food, they were most likely dietary “jacks-of-all-trades.”
The paper covers earliest hominid evolution, from about 6 to 1.6 million years ago. This touches on the beginning of the Paleolithic era, which spans from 2.6 million to roughly 10,000 years ago, but Sayers suggests that the conclusions hold in force for later human evolution as well.
“Based on evidence that’s been gathered over many decades, there’s very little evidence that any early hominids had very specialized diets or there were specific food categories that seemed particularly important, with only a few possible exceptions,” said Dr. Ken Sayers, a postdoctoral researcher at the Language Research Center of Georgia State. “Some earlier workers had suggested that the diets of bears and pigs–which have an omnivorous, eclectic feeding strategy that varies greatly based on local conditions–share much in common with those of our early ancestors. The data tend to support this view