Saturday, March 28, 2020

How Stone Age humans unlocked the glucose in plants

Ground stones were a 'major evolutionary success' as they allowed people to unlock the energy in plants by making flour. 
Image credit - José-Manuel Benito Álvarez/Wikimedia commons

Early cave paintings of hunting scenes may give the impression our Stone Age ancestors lived mainly on chunks of meat, but plants – and the ability to unlock the glucose inside – were just as key to their survival. 

Plants rich in starch helped early humans to thrive even at the height of the last Ice Age, researchers say.

While the evidence around meat eating is clear, the role of plant foods is less understood. Animal bones can last millions of years and still show cuts made by human butchering tools, whereas almost all plant remains disintegrate.

But new studies into the remains of plants that do exist are uncovering why and how our ancestors ate them.

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