Neanderthals were apparently too busy hunting and scavenging to pay much attention to Michael Pollan’s dietary advice: eat mostly plants.
New isotopic analysis suggests prehistoric humans ate mostly meat. As detailed in a new study published in the journal Quaternary International, the Neanderthal diet consisted of 80 percent meat, 20 percent vegetables.
Researchers in Germany measured isotope concentrations of collagen in Neanderthal fossils and compared them to the isotopic signatures of animal bones found nearby. In doing so, scientists were able to compare and contrast the diets of early humans and their mammalian neighbors, including mammoths, horses,reindeer, bison, hyenas, bears, lions and others.
“Previously, it was assumed that the Neanderthals utilized the same food sources as their animal neighbors,” lead researcher Herve Bocherens, a professor at the University of Tubingen’s Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, said in a news release.