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Diet and the evolution of the earliest human ancestors.

Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 725 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 01/2001; 97(25):13506-11. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.260368897
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Over the past decade, discussions of the evolution of the earliest human ancestors have focused on the locomotion of the australopithecines. Recent discoveries in a broad range of disciplines have raised important questions about the influence of ecological factors in early human evolution. Here we trace the cranial and dental traits of the early australopithecines through time, to show that between 4.4 million and 2.3 million years ago, the dietary capabilities of the earliest hominids changed dramatically, leaving them well suited for life in a variety of habitats and able to cope with significant changes in resource availability associated with long-term and short-term climatic fluctuations.

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