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2 million years ago, human relative ‘Nutcracker Man’ lived on tiger nuts
Heritage Daily ^ | 1-2014

Posted on 01/13/2014 3:35:18 PM PST by Renfield

An Oxford University study has concluded that our ancient ancestors who lived in East Africa between 2.4 million-1.4 million years ago survived mainly on a diet of tiger nuts.

Tiger nuts are edible grass bulbs still eaten in parts of the world today. The study published in the journal, PLOS ONE, also suggests that these early hominins may have sought additional nourishment from fruits and invertebrates, like worms and grasshoppers.

Study author Dr Gabriele Macho examined the diet of Paranthropus boisei, nicknamed “Nutcracker Man” because of his big flat molar teeth and powerful jaws, through studying modern-day baboons in Kenya. Her findings help to explain a puzzle that has vexed archaeologists for 50 years.

Scholars have debated why this early human relative had such strong jaws, indicating a diet of hard foods like nuts, yet their teeth seemed to be made for consuming soft foods. Damage to the tooth enamel also indicated they had come into contact with an abrasive substance. Previous research using stable isotope analyses suggests the diet of these homimins was largely comprised of C4 plants like grasses and sedges. However, a debate has raged over whether such high-fibre foods could ever be of sufficiently high quality for a large-brained, medium-sized hominin.

Dr Macho’s study finds that baboons today eat large quantities of C4 tiger nuts, and this food would have contained sufficiently high amounts of minerals, vitamins, and the fatty acids that would have been particularly important for the hominin brain. Her finding is grounded in existing data that details the diet of year-old baboons in Amboseli National Park in Kenya – a similar environment to that once inhabited by Paranthropus boisei. Dr Macho’s study is based on the assumption that baboons intuitively select food according to their needs. She concludes that the nutritional demands of a hominin would have been quite similar.

Dr Macho modified the findings of the previous study on baboons by Stuart Altmann (1998) on how long it took the year-old baboons to dig up tiger nuts and feed on various C4 sources. She calculated the likely time taken by hominins, suggesting that it would be at least twice that of the yearling baboons once their superior manual dexterity was taken into account. Dr Macho also factored in the likely calorie intake that would be needed by a big-brained human relative.

Tiger nuts, which are rich in starches, are highly abrasive in an unheated state. Dr Macho suggests that hominins’ teeth suffered abrasion and wear and tear due to these starches. The study finds that baboons’ teeth have similar marks giving clues about their pattern of consumption.

In order to digest the tiger nuts and allow the enzymes in the saliva to break down the starches, the hominins would need to chew the tiger nuts for a long time. All this chewing put considerable strain on the jaws and teeth, which explains why “Nutcracker Man” had such a distinctive cranial anatomy.

The Oxford study calculates a hominin could extract sufficient nutrients from a tiger nut- based diet, i.e. around 10,000 kilojoules or 2,000 calories a day – or 80% of their required daily calorie intake, in two and half to three hours. This fits comfortably within the foraging time of five to six hours per day typical for a large-bodied primate.

Dr Macho, from the School of Archaeology at Oxford University, said: ‘I believe that the theory – that “Nutcracker Man” lived on large amounts of tiger nuts– helps settle the debate about what our early human ancestor ate. On the basis of recent isotope results, these hominins appear to have survived on a diet of C4 foods, which suggests grasses and sedges. Yet these are not high quality foods. What this research tells us is that hominins were selective about the part of the grass that they ate, choosing the grass bulbs at the base of the grass blade as the mainstay of their diet.

‘Tiger nuts, still sold in health food shops as well as being widely used for grinding down and baking in many countries, would be relatively easy to find. They also provided a good source of nourishment for a medium-sized hominin with a large brain. This is why these hominins were able to survive for around one million years because they could successfully forage – even through periods of climatic change.’


TOPICS: Food; History; Science
KEYWORDS: creation; evolution; godsgravesglyphs; paleoanthropology; paleontology; tigernuts
Yes, the title could be a bit misleading
1 posted on 01/13/2014 3:35:18 PM PST by Renfield
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To: SunkenCiv

Ping


2 posted on 01/13/2014 3:35:34 PM PST by Renfield (Turning apples into venison since 1999!)
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To: Renfield

descendents now living in San Fran


3 posted on 01/13/2014 3:36:54 PM PST by AlmaKing
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To: Renfield

You mean like Charlie Sheen?


4 posted on 01/13/2014 3:36:57 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: Renfield

I wanna see a video!


5 posted on 01/13/2014 3:37:29 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 ((VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!))
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pure asshatery...


6 posted on 01/13/2014 3:37:48 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: Renfield; Revolting cat!; SunkenCiv
(file photo)
7 posted on 01/13/2014 3:38:13 PM PST by a fool in paradise ("Health care is too important to be left to the government.")
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To: Renfield
our ancient ancestors who lived in East Africa between 2.4 million-1.4 million years ago survived mainly on a diet of tiger nuts.

Those dudes were pretty brave!

Tiger nuts are edible grass bulbs still eaten in parts of the world today.

Oh, never mind.

8 posted on 01/13/2014 3:38:25 PM PST by Drew68
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To: Renfield
2 million years ago, human relative ‘Nutcracker Man’ lived on tiger nuts

Amazing we have any tigers left.

9 posted on 01/13/2014 3:38:53 PM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Renfield

If you are going to live by eating tiger nuts, you are going to have to really know how to fight.


10 posted on 01/13/2014 3:44:25 PM PST by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: Still Thinking; Renfield

Harvesting those could be dangerous.


11 posted on 01/13/2014 3:44:58 PM PST by colorado tanker
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To: Renfield

Poor tigers.


12 posted on 01/13/2014 3:45:50 PM PST by Lx (Do you like it? Do you like it, Scott? I call it, "Mr. & Mrs. Tenorman Chili.")
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To: colorado tanker

Yeah, it’s kind of a lose-lose proposition. If you fail, you’re dead; if you succeed the tiger becomes a Democrat.


13 posted on 01/13/2014 3:46:16 PM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Renfield

2 million years ago, human relative ‘Nutcracker Woman” lived on chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.


14 posted on 01/13/2014 3:46:58 PM PST by bunkerhill7 ("The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower"-NY State Senator Kathleen A. Marchione.")
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To: Renfield

“Tiger nuts are edible grass bulbs...”

we’re glad you explained that...


15 posted on 01/13/2014 3:47:05 PM PST by faithhopecharity
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To: faithhopecharity

I’m amazed the tiger gets that much mileage from them, if that’s the case!


16 posted on 01/13/2014 3:48:15 PM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Renfield

It’s no wonder tigers are endangered.


17 posted on 01/13/2014 3:55:30 PM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th (and 17th))
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To: Renfield

You need to be a tough dude to go rip the nuts off of a tiger.


18 posted on 01/13/2014 3:56:33 PM PST by Oliviaforever
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To: Renfield
Howard Dean, c. 2004
19 posted on 01/13/2014 3:56:49 PM PST by mikrofon (Just Plain Nuts)
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To: Still Thinking

:-))


20 posted on 01/13/2014 4:00:10 PM PST by colorado tanker
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To: Renfield

I clicked on tnis thread to read the comments.


21 posted on 01/13/2014 4:02:34 PM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Renfield

"Tastes like wild hickory nuts."

22 posted on 01/13/2014 4:04:51 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: Renfield

Looks more like a monkey than an ape, and sure as hell doesn’t look like any sort of a “human ancestor(TM)”.


23 posted on 01/13/2014 4:12:21 PM PST by varmintman
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To: Still Thinking

“Amazing we have any tigers left”.

Now that is funny, very funny!!


24 posted on 01/13/2014 4:31:45 PM PST by dodger
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To: Renfield

Another food product for a Charlie Sheen endorsement.


25 posted on 01/13/2014 4:36:27 PM PST by Rebelbase (Tagline: optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: Still Thinking

Well played!


26 posted on 01/13/2014 4:37:30 PM PST by JennysCool (My hypocrisy goes only so far)
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To: Renfield

I clicked on this just to read the comments, and you guys did not let me down.


27 posted on 01/13/2014 4:40:11 PM PST by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (I'm not anti-government, government's anti-me.)
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To: Renfield

2 million years ago, human relative ‘Nutcracker Man’ lived on tiger nuts

And the score for "Best FreeRepublic Title"...here comes the score from our judges:


28 posted on 01/13/2014 4:42:45 PM PST by COBOL2Java (I'm a Christian, pro-life, pro-gun, Reaganite. The GOP hates me. Why should I vote for them?)
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To: Renfield

When, and where is the premier of the play? I don’t want to miss it!


29 posted on 01/13/2014 4:46:21 PM PST by johnthebaptistmoore (The world continues to be stuck in a "all leftist, all of the time" funk. BUNK THE FUNK!)
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To: Still Thinking

If it weren’t for Nutcracker Man we’d be up to our arses in tigers!


30 posted on 01/13/2014 4:52:45 PM PST by TigersEye (Stupid is a Progressive disease.)
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To: Renfield
‘Nutcracker Man’ lived on tiger nuts

Brave soul and quick on his feet no doubt!

31 posted on 01/13/2014 4:58:33 PM PST by Islander7 (There is no septic system so vile, so filthy, the left won't drink from to further their agenda)
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To: a fool in paradise

Let me tell you all a story ‘bout a caveman, Fred...


32 posted on 01/13/2014 5:03:37 PM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: Renfield; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...
Thanks Renfield!

33 posted on 01/13/2014 5:04:21 PM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: Renfield

Andrew Zimmern is the last known example of the Nutcracker Man species...


34 posted on 01/13/2014 5:05:02 PM PST by MortMan (Is a delayed shower a "stay of exablution"?)
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Tater Nuts

Tater Nuts

35 posted on 01/13/2014 5:23:26 PM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: SunkenCiv

36 posted on 01/13/2014 5:47:14 PM PST by null and void (It is as if they all had one head. Too bad they don't all have one neck.)
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To: Renfield

Ouch! Poor Tigers.


37 posted on 01/13/2014 5:49:15 PM PST by TruthWillWin (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples money.)
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To: Renfield

Dude’s got balls going for them kinda nuts.

Does he ketch em by the tail?


38 posted on 01/13/2014 6:01:09 PM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: Still Thinking

LOL! Ding-ding! We have a winner!


39 posted on 01/13/2014 6:10:59 PM PST by vpintheak (Thankful to be God blessed & chosen!)
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To: colorado tanker; JennysCool; TigersEye; vpintheak

Why, thank ya! [tips hat]


40 posted on 01/13/2014 6:28:15 PM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Renfield

I can’t imagine even attacking a tiger and certainly not getting his nuts for dinner! This must have been one fought hominoid!


41 posted on 01/13/2014 6:33:57 PM PST by Vesparado (The American people know what they want and they deserve to get it good and hard --- HL Mencken)
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To: Renfield

Why is this African plant called tiger’s nuts? Tigers live in Asia.


42 posted on 01/13/2014 6:40:52 PM PST by LoneRangerMassachusetts (The meek shall not inherit the Earth)
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To: null and void

Thank goodness they’re organic. Cage-raised and GMO tiger nuts just don’t taste right.


43 posted on 01/13/2014 6:49:20 PM PST by TigersEye (Stupid is a Progressive disease.)
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To: LoneRangerMassachusetts

Well, let’s just say there USED to be tigers in Africa.....


44 posted on 01/13/2014 6:52:42 PM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Renfield

Anything like Rocky Mountain oysters?.....


45 posted on 01/13/2014 9:17:04 PM PST by Intolerant in NJ
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To: Renfield

For everything, there’s a first time and this sounds like it began with “Oh yeah? Here, hold my beer..”


46 posted on 01/13/2014 9:34:29 PM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: Renfield

47 posted on 01/14/2014 6:47:44 AM PST by Alas Babylon!
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