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Title: Diet and environment 1.2 million years ago revealed through analysis of dental calculus from Europe’s oldest hominin at Sima del Elefante, Spain
Authors: Hardy, Karen
Radini, Anita
Buckley, Stephen
Blasco, Ruth
Copeland, Les
Burjachs i Casas, Francesc
Girbal i Lladó, Josep
Yll i Aguirre, Errikarta-Imanol
Carbonell, Eudald
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Keywords: Human evolution;Sima del Elefante;Atapuerca;Dental calculus;Diet;Microfossils;Paleoenvironment
Issue Date: Feb-2017
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Citation: The Science of Nature, 2017, 104 (2)
Abstract: Sima del Elefante, Atapuerca, Spain contains one of the earliest hominin fragments yet known in Europe, dating to 1.2 Ma. Dental calculus from a hominin molar was removed, degraded and analysed to recover entrapped remains. Evidence for plant use at this time is very limited and this study has revealed the earliest direct evidence for foods consumed in the genus Homo. This comprises starchy carbohydrates from two plants, including a species of grass from the Triticeae or Bromideae tribe, meat and plant fibres. All food was eaten raw, and there is no evidence for processing of the starch granules which are intact and undamaged. Additional biographical detail includes fragments of non-edible wood found adjacent to an interproximal groove suggesting oral hygiene activities, while plant fibres may be linked to raw material processing. Environmental evidence comprises spores, insect fragments and conifer pollen grains which are consistent with a forested environment.
ISSN: 0028-1042
DOI: 10.1007/s00114-016-1420-x
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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