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Title: Earliest porotic hyperostosis on a 1.5-million-year-old hominin, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
Authors: Domínguez-Rodrigo, Manuel
Pickering, Travis Rayne
Díez Martín, Fernando
Mabulla, Audax Z. P.
Musiba, Charles
Trancho Gayo, Gonzalo Javier
Baquedano, Enrique
Bunn, Henry T.
Barboni, Doris
Santonja, Manuel
Uribelarrea del Val, David
Ashley, Gail M.
Martínez-Ávila, María del Sol
Barba Egido, Rebeca
Gidna, Agness Onna
Yravedra Saínz de los Terreros, José
Arriaza, María del Carmen
Keywords: Paleoanthropology;Hominins;Osteology;Anemia;Archaeology;Pleistocene epoch;Diet;Hominid paleoneurology
Issue Date: Oct-2012
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: PLoS ONE, 2012, 7 (10): e46414
Abstract: Meat-eating was an important factor affecting early hominin brain expansion, social organization and geographic movement. Stone tool butchery marks on ungulate fossils in several African archaeological assemblages demonstrate a significant level of carnivory by Pleistocene hominins, but the discovery at Olduvai Gorge of a child's pathological cranial fragments indicates that some hominins probably experienced scarcity of animal foods during various stages of their life histories. The child's parietal fragments, excavated from 1.5-million-year-old sediments, show porotic hyperostosis, a pathology associated with anemia. Nutritional deficiencies, including anemia, are most common at weaning, when children lose passive immunity received through their mothers' milk. Our results suggest, alternatively, that (1) the developmentally disruptive potential of weaning reached far beyond sedentary Holocene food-producing societies and into the early Pleistocene, or that (2) a hominin mother's meat-deficient diet negatively altered the nutritional content of her breast milk to the extent that her nursing child ultimately died from malnourishment. Either way, this discovery highlights that by at least 1.5 million years ago early human physiology was already adapted to a diet that included the regular consumption of meat.
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046414
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Arqueología

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