Were Big-Game Hunters Targeting Fat?
While our focus in the preceding discussion has been on paleoanthropology’s preoccupation with protein, over the past decade or so perspectives in the field have begun to shift, and a growing number of researchers now accept the potential shortcomings of a diet that is heavily based on the fat-poor muscle tissues typical of most African ungulates. As a result, a number of paleoanthropologists are now emphasizing the importance of the fat that early hominins could glean from the marrow bones and brains of hunted (or scavenged) large game. Thus, while nutritionally motivated meat-eating and big-game hunting still retain their position of prominence in most contemporary evolutionary scenarios, animal-derived fat obtained mostly from marrow and brain is now seen as an essential part of the picture (e.g., Bunn and Ezzo 1993; Cordain et al. 2001; see also arguments and counter-arguments in Blumenschine and Caro 1986:275; Blumenschine and Madrigal 1993; Lupo 1998; Madrigal and Blumenschine 2000).
KeywordsAlternative Food Large Game Hunting Success Early Hominins Mopane Worm
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