Re: Homo = diet of shellfish?


Teeth found in the same layer as the Grimaldi EEMH skeletons have similar tooth wear, including on the roots. In deciduous teeth.


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From: Gareth Morgan
Sent: Friday, March 4, 2022 4:17 AM
Subject: Re: [AAT] Homo = diet of shellfish?


Excellent. Some of us won't be surprised.


From: <> on behalf of fceska_gr via <f-ceska@...>
Sent: Friday, March 4, 2022 12:24 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [AAT] Homo = diet of shellfish?


That's great! Thank you Marc.


-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Marc Verhaegen
Sent: Friday, March 4, 2022 9:22 AM
Subject: [AAT] Homo = diet of shellfish?

Macaque tooth study prompts rethink of human evolution

A study into tooth wear in a group of wild Japanese  macaques has significant implications for the study of human evolution.

Ian Towle, Carolina Loch cs (Am.J.biol.Anthrop.) studied  root grooves & large uniform scratches in the macaques’ teeth, these had previously only been described in fossil humans:
“Unusual  wear on our fossil ancestors' teeth is thought to be unique to humans, and demonstrates specific types of tool use.
These types of wear have  also been considered some of the earliest evidence of cultural habits  for our ancestors.
But our research suggests this idea may need  reconsidering:
we describe identical tooth wear in a group of wild  monkeys that do not use tools.
This raises questions for our  understanding of cultural changes during human evolution, it suggests we  may need to re-assess early evidence of cultural habits.”
The study concluded:
the ‘toothpick’-like grooves on back-teeth & large uniform  scratches on the macaques’ front teeth were actually caused by something  more mundane, yet still surprising:
eating shellfish from rocks &  accidentally chewing grit & sand with their food.

Koshima Island macaques removing and eating limpets [Credit: Cecile Sarabian/Takafumi Suzumura] This  macaque group is well-known for undertaking remarkable behaviours, incl. washing foods in water, and consuming fish.
They have been  studied for >70 years, and have not been seen using tools or  other items that could cause the unusual tooth wear observed.

Towle has been studying tooth wear & pathologies in a wide variety of primate spp, he was “extremely surprised” to find this type of  tooth-wear in a group of wild monkeys:
“Up until now, the large scratches in the front teeth of  fossil humans have been considered to be caused by a behaviour called  'stuff & cut', in 'stuff & cut', an item such as an animal hide is held between  the front-teeth, and a stone tool is used for slicing.
Similarly,  ‘toothpick’ grooves are thought to be caused by tools being placed  between back-teeth, to remove food debris, or relieve pain.
Although this  does not mean hominins were not placing tools in their mouths, our study suggests:
the accidental ingestion of grit and/or normal food processing behaviours could also be responsible for these atypical wear patterns.”

Towle believes the findings provide insight into how researchers interpret cultural changes through the course of human evolution:
  “We  are so used to trying to prove that humans are unique, that similarities  with other primates are often neglected.
Studying living primates today  may offer crucial clues that have been overlooked in the past.”


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