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The Importance of Honey Consumption in Human Evolution


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It has been suggested that honey may have been an important food source for early members of the genus Homo, yet the importance of meat and savanna plant foods continue to be stressed as the most relevant foods in dietary reconstructions. Here, the importance of honey and bee larvae in hominin diets is explored. Ethnographic reports, examples of Paleolithic rock art, and evidence from non-human primates are used to show that early hominins likely targeted beehives using the Oldowan tool kit. The consumption of honey and bee larvae likely provided significant amounts of energy, supplementing meat and plant foods. The ability to find and exploit beehives using stone tools may have been an innovation that allowed early Homo to nutritionally out-compete other species and may have provided critical energy to fuel the enlarging hominin brain.
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The Importance of Honey Consumption
in Human Evolution
Alyssa N. Crittenden
Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas,
Nevada, USA
Available online: 08 Dec 2011
To cite this article: Alyssa N. Crittenden (2011): The Importance of Honey Consumption in Human
Evolution, Food and Foodways, 19:4, 257-273
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Food and Foodways, 19:257–273, 2011
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0740-9710 print / 1542-3484 online
DOI: 10.1080/07409710.2011.630618
The Importance of Honey Consumption
in Human Evolution
Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
It has been suggested that honey may have been an important food
source for early members of the genus Homo, yet the importance
of meat and savanna plant foods continue to be stressed as the
most relevant foods in dietary reconstructions. Here, the impor-
tance of honey and bee larvae in hominin diets is explored. Ethno-
graphic reports, examples of Paleolithic rock art, and evidence from
non-human primates are used to show that early hominins likely
targeted beehives using the Oldowan tool kit. The consumption of
honey and bee larvae likely provided significant amounts of en-
ergy, supplementing meat and plant foods. The ability to find and
exploit beehives using stone tools may have been an innovation that
allowed early Homo to nutritionally out-compete other species and
may have provided critical energy to fuel the enlarging hominin
Honey is one of the most energy-dense foods in nature (Skinner 1991), but
despite suggestions that it may have been an important food source for early
Homo (Allsop and Miller 1996; Bunn and Schoeninger 2009; McGrew 2001;
Schoeninger et al. 2003; Skinner 2001), it has received little attention in most
reconstructions of early hominin
diet composition. While the importance of
meat (Bunn 2007; Cordain et al. 2001; Eaton et al. 1998; Stanford and Bunn
2001) and savanna plant foods, e.g., underground storage organs (USOs)
(Dominy et al. 2008; Hawkes et al. 1997; Wrangham et al. 1999), are routinely
highlighted, the importance of honey and larvae consumption have been
largely overlooked.
The appearance of Oldowan tool technology, the earliest assemblages
of deliberately flaked stone artifacts, coupled with the spread of grasslands
Address correspondence to Alyssa N. Crittenden, Department of Anthropology, Univer-
sity of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154-5003. E-mail:
Downloaded by [University of Nevada Las Vegas] at 10:06 13 December 2011
258 A. N. Crittenden
across East Africa, suggest that ecological changes during the Late Pliocene
may have led to changes in resource availability for early Homo (Ungar
et al. 2006). An expanded toolkit would have allowed early hominins to
target, process, and consume a greater range of foods than was previously
available (Dominguez-Rodrigo et al. 2001; Shea 2007; Ungar et al. 2006). Sta-
ble carbon isotope data of hominin tooth enamel and faunal reconstructions
suggest that early hominins fed in an open country savanna woodland habi-
tat (Sponheimer and Lee-Thorp 1999; Sponheimer et al. 2005). Although the
general consensus agrees that environmental changes along with technolog-
ical innovation provided an opportunity for major dietary shifts, the types of
foods that would have been targeted remain unclear (Leonard et al. 2007;
Ungar et al. 2006). Here, the probable importance of honey and bee lar-
vae in early hominin diet is explored. Nutritional composition, ethnographic
reports, examples of Paleolithic rock art, and evidence from non-human pri-
mates are used to show that early Homo was capable of, and likely benefited
from, targeting beehives using the Oldowan tool kit. Liquid honey may have
provided much-needed energy to early hominin foragers and would have
been an important supplement to meat and plant collection.
The seasonality of honey production differs in temperate versus tropical
climates. In temperate zones, the production cycle of both stinging (Apis
mellifera) and stingless (Meliponinae) honeybees is highly seasonal (Crane
1990). In tropical zones, honeybees are dependent upon rainfall, regardless
of the season; during relatively wet years, production of honey may be
continual, whereas in dry years, production may be restricted to short periods
following a rain (Crane 1990, 1999).
Liquid honey, both wild and domestic, contains approximately 80–95
percent sugar and is a concentrated source of fructose and glucose (Bog-
danov et al. 2008; Murray et al. 2001; White et al. 1962). Honey also contains
trace amounts of several essential vitamins and minerals (Iskander et al.
1995; Terrab et al. 2004) and contains components that act as preservatives,
including a-tocopherol, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, glucose oxidase, catalase,
and peroxidase (Crane 1975; Ferreres et al. 1993; Nagai et al. 2006). Although
only small amounts of protein (mainly free amino acids) are found in liquid
honey (Bogdanov et al. 2008), wild honeys contain higher levels of pro-
tein and fat, most likely because they contain trace amounts of bee larvae,
whereas cleaned and commercially processed honey does not (Murray et al.
2001). Bee larvae is a good source of protein, fat, several essential minerals,
and B-vitamins (Finke 2005). Combined, honey and bee larvae are excellent
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Importance of Honey Consumption 259
sources of energy, fat, and protein and represent high-quality food sources
that have been targeted for much of human history.
Multiple examples of Upper Paleolithic (40,000–8,000 years ago) rock art
linked to honey and bees are found in Spain, India, Australia, and South-
ern Africa. The most abundant rock art representations of honey related
activities in Europe are found in Spain. Paintings in a side chamber of the Al-
tamira cave (Figure 1), dated to roughly 25,000 years ago (Pager 1976), depict
FIGURE 1 Mesolithic rock painting of honey collection from a wild bee nest, La Ara
na shelter,
Valencia, Spain. Reprinted from Crane 1999, with permission from International Bee Research
Association (IRBA).
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260 A. N. Crittenden
honeycomb, bees, and honey collection ladders (Cartailhac and Breuil 1906).
In an open-air rock shelter in Bicorp in the Valencia Province, depictions of
honey collection, bee swarms, and comb representations, dating to 10,000
years ago, have been found (Dams 1978; Hern
andez-Pacheco 1928). Mul-
tiple representations of honey collection have been found in central India.
Images include groups of both men and women sitting in trees containing
beehives, smoking hives, and climbing ladders to access honeycombs (Gor-
don 1960; Mathpal 1984). There are also drawings of basketlike objects that
may represent dried-out gourds for collecting liquid honey (Mathpal 1984).
In Australia, rock art depicting the nests of stingless bees have been found
near Darwin (Crane 1975) and near the Laura River (Trezise 1973). Figures
made with beeswax, dated to 4,000 years ago, have been found on the walls
of open rock shelters in the Northern Territory (Nelson 1995).
The majority of rock paintings depicting honey collection and bee-
related topics are located in Africa (Crane 1986, 1999). In South and West
Africa (Johnson et al. 1959; Rudner and Rudner 1970), Zambia (Clark 1942),
Namibia (Crane 1983), and Lesotho (Smits 1971), there are depictions of bee
swarms, hives, and people on ladders accessing honeycomb, represented
as ovoid shapes with black and white coloration (Pager 1973; Woodhouse
1989). The dark shaded areas represent comb filled with honey or pupae,
and the light areas represent empty comb decorated with dots representing
visible larvae in uncapped cells (Crane 1983). A depiction of a figure smok-
ing a beehive (date unknown) was found in Toghwana Dam, Zimbabwe
(Figure 2). The San foragers claim that their people have used this cave for
approximately 10,000 years (Crane 1999).
The abundance of rock art depicting honey collection scenes at several
sites throughout the world suggests that honey and larvae may have been an
important part of the Paleolithic diet and daily life. It can be expected, how-
ever, that early hominins were exploiting beehives long before the practice
was represented artistically; beehives and the stick tools used to access their
contents do not survive the archaeological record. Data on the diet compo-
sition and food collection practices of foraging populations offer compelling
evidence that honey and bee larvae may have contributed to a significant
portion of the early Homo diet.
Honey and bee larvae consumption is widespread among human popula-
tions. A large body of literature reports the importance of honey in the diets
of human foragers (Bodenheimer 1951); however, data on the amount col-
lected and consumed remain largely anecdotal. Abundant consumption of
honey and brood (larvae), both for stinging (Apis mellifera) and stingless
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Importance of Honey Consumption 261
FIGURE 2 Rock painting of figure smoking a beehive, Toghwana Dam, Zimbabwe. Reprinted
from Crane 1999, with permission from International Bee Research Association (IRBA).
bees (Meliponinae), is reported for foraging groups in Latin America, Asia,
Australia, and Africa.
Across Latin America, multiple foraging groups focus a considerable
amount of their collection effort on honey and bee larvae during distinct
periods throughout the year (Ramos-Elorduy et al. 1997). The Yukpa-Yuko of
Venezuela and Colombia consider bees the “single most important group of
insects” in their diet (Ruddle 1973), and the Hiwi of Venezuela also consume
significant amounts of both liquid honey and bee larvae during both the
wet and the dry seasons (Gurven et al. 2000; Hill 2002; Hurtado and Hill
1987, 1990). The Ache of Paraguay consider honey and bee larvae to be
the second most important resource class in their diet after large game meat
(Hill et al. 1984; Kaplan and Hill 1985). The detailed data on the Ache
quantifies the ways in which bees and their products contribute to overall
diet composition. The energetic value of Ache honey is reported to be 3,232
calories per kilogram; consumption of honey and brood is, on average, 1,163
calories per person per day (Hurtado et al. 1985). Although honey is most
abundant during the early part of the wet season, it is available in varying
amounts throughout the year (Hill 2002; Hill et al. 1984; Hawkes et al. 1982).
In Asia, the honey foragers of Nepal target the nests of large stingless
and stinging honeybees and collect approximately 40 liters of liquid honey
and 10 kilograms of comb in less than one hour of foraging (Valli and
Summers 1988). They utilize bamboo ladders to climb within reach of the
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262 A. N. Crittenden
nests, which are usually situated high in cliff crevices or in trees on the cliff
face (Underwood 1990). The Tamang of Nepal (Masvie 2006; Thapa 2000)
and the Onge of the Andaman Islands (Cipriani 1966; Crane 1975) also collect
and consume large quantities of honey and bee larvae.
Various foraging peoples of Australia have historically utilized the hives
of both honeybees and stingless bees, eating large amounts of honey and
brood (Akerman 1979; O’Dea et al. 1991). Both the men and women of the
Worora, Wunambal, and Ngarinjin tribes from west Australia are reported
to have used digging sticks, hammer stones, and stone hatchets to gain
access to beehives (Akerman 1979). The Wanindiljangwa of the north coast
of Australia highly value the “sugar bag” (Worsley 1961), which contains
honey, brood, and wax comb. The sugar bag is considered to be one of the
most valued foods in their dietary repertoire and produces 1,680 calories per
kilogram (Meehan 1977).
Reports on African foragers provide the most detailed accounts of honey
collection and consumption. The ecology of the African environment, pri-
marily miombo woodland and baobab trees, have bark that is highly suitable
for hive construction and provide reliable honey throughout the year (Guy
1972). The various honey collection techniques across Africa include using
climbing ropes to gain access to hives located high in trees, hammering pegs
into the trunk of a tree to climb to the hive’s location, or using smoke to
stun the bees, which then fly out and abandon the hive and its contents
(Bodenheimer 1951; Guy 1972; Crane 1999). Anecdotal references to honey
collection and consumption are reported for various groups, including the
Mikea of Madagascar (Tucker 2004), the Tongwe of Tanzania (Takeda 1976),
and the Ogiek of Kenya (Nightingale 1983). There is quantified data avail-
able, however, on the amounts collected and consumed by the Efe foragers
of the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Hadza
foragers of Tanzania.
The Efe have a “honey season” that lasts from July–August (Terashima
1998). During this season, they move deep into the forest in search of the
liquid honey and larvae of both stinging and stingless bees. During the honey
season, they rely almost entirely on honey, brood, and pollen (Ichikawa
1981; Turnbull 1976). Men and women collect honey together in family
groups and share their yield once they have returned to camp. The average
amount of honey and brood collected by the average person per day is
3.32 kilograms, and the average amount consumed per person per day is
0.62 kilograms of honey (dry weight), which is calculated as 1,900 calories
per day (Ichikawa 1981). Honey contributes roughly 70 percent of the diet by
weight and 80 percent by calories (Ichikawa 1981; Terashima 1998), making
it the largest component of the Efe diet during the wet season.
Among the Hadza foragers of Tanzania, honey is the most prized and
highly ranked food source (Berbesque and Marlowe 2009). The Hadza collect
the honey of stinging and stingless bees, consuming the larvae of both.
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Importance of Honey Consumption 263
Honey comprises approximately 15 percent of the Hadza diet (Marlowe
2001), is shared widely outside of the household, and is consumed by the
entire camp (Bunn and Schoeninger 2009; Marlowe 2003). Liquid honey is
a primary weaning food
for Hadza children (Crittenden et al. n.d.). Male
foragers are the primary honey collectors; however, children also routinely
target beehives and return to camp with honey to share (Crittenden et al.
n.d.). Young male foragers are able to collect and consume upwards of
3,000 kilocalories of honey during a three-hour foraging trip (Crittenden
2009). Honey is typically housed high off the ground in large baobab trees.
Hadza men drive posts into the trunk of the tree, which the men and boys
then climb in order to access the hive (Figure 3).
When locating an active hive, Hadza foragers often employ the as-
sistance of the honey guide bird, Indicator indicator, a paleotropical
near passerine bird that occupies sub-Saharan Africa (Short and Horne
2002). The honey guide is also an accomplice in assisting honey badgers
FIGURE 3 Hadza honey collection in large baobab tree.
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264 A. N. Crittenden
(Mellivora capensis) and baboons (Papio cynocephalus) locate beehives
(Dean and MacDonald 1981; Zimmerman et al. 1999). In the case of the
Hadza, the honey guide bird leads the honey forager to the hive. They stay
in constant communication via a series of chatters and whistles. When the
forager reaches the hive, he chops into the tree to create a large hole and then
typically smokes the bees. This involves placing burning brush in the mouth
of the hive, which acts to reduce the electroantennograph response of the
guard bees, who otherwise would release a volatile alarm odor pheromone
called iso-pentyl acetate when threatened (Boch and Shearer 1962; Visscher
et al. 1995). When the smoke enters the hive, the antennae receptors of
the guard bees are dulled and they fail to sound the alarm. Smoking the
hive also has the secondary effect of causing the other bees in the hive to
gorge themselves on honey as a response to habitat threat. They take in vast
amounts of honey and then vacate the hive in order to rebuild it elsewhere.
When exposed to smoke, bees are dramatically less defensive and aggres-
sive, and there is a negative correlation between degree of engorgement
and the tendency to sting (Biamonte 1974; Conrad 1940; Free 1968; Viss-
cher et al. 1995). The Hadza forager thus escapes getting stung by the bees,
aptly named African killer bees, and extracts the contents of the hive (Figure
4). While he focuses on the liquid honey and larvae, the honey guide bird
consumes the wax.
FIGURE 4 Hadza honey hunter with honey and bee larvae (Apis mellifera adansonii).
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Importance of Honey Consumption 265
The above reports of honey and brood consumption represent only
a subset of the populations who focus foraging efforts on the content of
beehives. The ethnographic data outlined above are the most detailed and
consistently reported examples representing the importance that honey plays
in the diet of foraging populations.
Several species of non-human primates are also successful honey collectors.
Baboons and macaques routinely target the nests of both stinging and stin-
gless bees (Botha 1970). In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, baboons
target the nests of stingless bees and harvest honey and larvae using their
hands and muzzles (Kajobe and Roubik 2006). Gorillas also target honey in
Bwindi (Kajobe and Roubik 2006; Stanford et al. 2000) and elsewhere (Botha
1970). Orangutans routinely collect honey and bees by using probes made
of vegetation (Fox et al. 1998) or by smashing the hive (Rijksen 1978). Chim-
panzees at many sites target honey and larvae using a variety of methods,
including the use of stick tools to extract the contents of the hive (Cen-
tral African Republic: Fay and Carroll 1994; Hicks et al. 2005; C
ote d’Ivoire:
Boesch and Boesch 1990; Gabon: Boesch et al. 2009; Tutin and Fernan-
dez 2005; Gambia: Brewer and McGrew 1990; Nigeria: Fowler and Sommer
2007; Republic of Congo: Bermejo and Illera 1999; Sanz and Morgan 2009;
Yamagiwa et al. 1988; Senegal: Bermejo et al. 1989; Tanzania: Goodall 1986;
Uganda: Stanford et al. 2000; Kajobe and Roubik 2006; Watts 2008). Studies
of chimpanzee tool use and diet composition are useful in models of early
hominin behavior, not only because of their phylogenetic proximity to hu-
mans, but also because of their behavioral and anatomical similarities to our
species. These data from non-human primates suggest that honey and larvae
consumption may have been an important part of the subsistence strategy
of early hominins.
Using the convergent evidence of honey and larvae consumption from non-
human primates, historical and contemporary foraging populations, and artis-
tic representations from Upper Paleolithic rock art, it can be expected that
early hominins likely targeted beehives using the Oldowan tool kit.
It is possible that honey extraction was practiced by the Australo-
pithecines, yet digging sticks do not survive the archaeological record.
Oldowan stone tools begin to appear in the archaeological record approx-
imately 2.5 mya in Africa (Semaw 2006; Toth and Schick 2009) and have
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266 A. N. Crittenden
also been found at multiple sites in Europe and Asia (Toth and Schick 2009).
Using the Oldowan toolkit to split open beehives would have made honey
and larvae more easily accessible and possibly allowed hominin foragers to
extract more honey than was previously possible. Hollowed-out gourds and
ostrich eggs, frequently used by foragers to transport water (Howell 2010),
could have been utilized to transport honey and larvae back to camp to
share with dependent offspring and individuals unable to forage.
honey consumption would have provided considerable amounts of energy,
successfully supplementing meat and plant foods.
It has been suggested that the evolution of larger hominin brains, w hich
are metabolically expensive (Aschoff et al. 1971; Holliday 1986), would have
required the consumption of energy-rich foods to fuel the expansion (Aiello
and Wheeler 1995; Leonard and Robertson 1994). Early members of the genus
Homo, 1.5–2 million years ago, were the first to show signs of increased
relative brain size (McHenry and Coffing 2000). This expansion coincides not
only with the appearance of Oldowan tools, but also with the reduction in
size of molar dentition, indicating that hominins were consuming foods that
required less mechanical breakdown, i.e., chewing (Brace et al. 1987, 1991;
Leonard et al. 2007). Most Paleolithic diet reconstructions emphasize the vital
role that meat (Bunn 2007; Cordain et al. 2001; Eaton et al. 1998; Stanford
and Bunn 2001) and/or tubers (Dominy et al. 2008; Hawkes et al. 1997;
Wrangham et al. 1999) played in the shifting diet of early Homo. Honey,
however, a food that is easy to consume and digest and is energetically
dense, remains largely ignored as a component of hominin diet.
The enlarging hominin brain would have greatly benefited from the
energy provided by even a modest amount of honey (Skinner 1991). Glucose
plays a critical role in meeting the high metabolic requirements of neural
development and function (Amiel 1994; Chugani 1998). In addition to energy,
honeycomb provides small amounts of protein in the larval cells. In a highly
seasonal environment such as Late Pliocene East Africa (Copeland 2007),
honey and larvae may have supplemented scarce resources during the dry
season. The ability to find and exploit beehives with stone tools may have
been an innovation that allowed early hominins to nutritionally outcompete
other species and may have been a crucial energy source to help fuel the
enlarging hominin brain. To further our understanding of early hominin diet
composition and the potential links between nutrition and neural expansion,
we must begin to incorporate honey and larvae consumption into models of
early Homo diet reconstruction.
I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their very useful com-
ments. I am grateful to Dr. Margaret Schoeninger, Dr. Adrienne Zihlman, and
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Importance of Honey Consumption 267
Dr. Frank Marlowe for very stimulating discussions on the role of honey in
human evolution.
1. The term “hominin” is a taxonomic classification used here to refer to members of the genus
Homo and their direct ancestors, including Australopithecines.
2. Grasslands using a C
photosynthetic pathway (versus the more common C
pathway for most
flowering p lants) began radically changing the biosphere around 3–8 mya (Cerling 1992; Edwards et al.
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of botulism (Smith et al. 2010), some rural populations routinely use honey as a weaning food (Kumar
et al. 2006; Madhu et al. 2009).
4. The earliest appearance of use of a home base, or central place, dates to the Plio/Pleistocene
boundary (O’Connell 1997). Early Homo foragers were nomadic and, as such, most likely did not store
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... The importance of honey in the diets of human foragers throughout history has been well documented. Honey, as well as residual bee larvae in wild honey, may have been an important source of energy, fat, and protein for early humans (reviewed in (23)). It has been suggested that routine consumption of honey, an energy-dense and easily digestible food source, to supplement meat and plant foods, may have played an important role in shifting the diet from a low-calorie to an energy-rich, calorie-dense diet to support increasing brain activity during the evolution of larger hominin brains (23)(24)(25). ...
... Honey, as well as residual bee larvae in wild honey, may have been an important source of energy, fat, and protein for early humans (reviewed in (23)). It has been suggested that routine consumption of honey, an energy-dense and easily digestible food source, to supplement meat and plant foods, may have played an important role in shifting the diet from a low-calorie to an energy-rich, calorie-dense diet to support increasing brain activity during the evolution of larger hominin brains (23)(24)(25). The reduction of molar size, indicating the consumption of foods requiring less mechanical breakdown, along with the documented use of Oldowan tools (50,000-10,000 BCE) that may have been used for honey collecting as denoted in rock art also support this idea (23). ...
... It has been suggested that routine consumption of honey, an energy-dense and easily digestible food source, to supplement meat and plant foods, may have played an important role in shifting the diet from a low-calorie to an energy-rich, calorie-dense diet to support increasing brain activity during the evolution of larger hominin brains (23)(24)(25). The reduction of molar size, indicating the consumption of foods requiring less mechanical breakdown, along with the documented use of Oldowan tools (50,000-10,000 BCE) that may have been used for honey collecting as denoted in rock art also support this idea (23). ...
Full-text available
Honey has a long history of use for the treatment of digestive ailments. Certain honey types have well-established bioactive properties including antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities. In addition, honey contains non-digestible carbohydrates in the form of oligosaccharides, and there is increasing evidence from in vitro, animal, and pilot human studies that some kinds of honey have prebiotic activity. Prebiotics are foods or compounds, such as non-digestible carbohydrates, that are used to promote specific, favorable changes in the composition and function of the gut microbiota. The gut microbiota plays a critical role in human health and well-being, with disturbances to the balance of these organisms linked to gut inflammation and the development and progression of numerous conditions, such as colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and mental health issues. Consequently, there is increasing interest in manipulating the gut microbiota to a more favorable balance as a way of improving health by dietary means. Current research suggests that certain kinds of honey can reduce the presence of infection-causing bacteria in the gut including Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Clostridiodes difficile, while simultaneously stimulating the growth of potentially beneficial species, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. In this paper, we review the current and growing evidence that shows the prebiotic potential of honey to promote healthy gut function, regulate the microbial communities in the gut, and reduce infection and inflammation. We outline gaps in knowledge and explore the potential of honey as a viable option to promote or re-engineer a healthy gut microbiome.
... Je vyhledávanou potravinou i pro mnoho zvířat včetně velkých opic 3 . Byl nejen zdrojem potravy, ale také léčivem 4 . V oblasti Tanzánie, kde jsem prováděl svůj výzkum, tvořil med speciální dietu spolu s rostlinami v rámci některých kmenových systémů 5 . ...
Full-text available
Med hrál významnou roli při evolučním vývoji a přežití našich předků. Je vyhledávanou potravinou i pro mnoho zvířat včetně velkých opic. Byl nejen zdrojem potravy, ale také léčivem. V oblasti Tanzánie, kde jsem prováděl svůj výzkum, tvořil med speciální dietu spolu s rostlinami v rámci některých kmenových systémů. V rámci východní Afriky a svahilské kultury pak med sloužil také jako součást některých kmenových alkoholických nápojů.
... From the point of view of semantic memory, the options are limited: semantic memory can only store what has been learned, and what has been learned is simply that bees are sometimes harmful after all. But this suggests no strategies for avoiding bee stings besides avoiding bees altogether -which might be costly, since honey is an important source of nutrition (Crittenden, 2011). On the other hand, if he can episodically remember this event later and compare it with relevantly similar subsequent experiences, he might determine what predicts bee stings: perhaps stinging bees have a distinctive appearance or distinctive behaviour. ...
I argue that the function of episodic memory is to store information about the past, against the orthodox view that it is to support imagining the future. I show that episodic memory is epistemically generative, allowing organisms to learn from past events retroactively. This confers adaptive benefits in three domains: Reasoning about the world, skill, and social interaction. Given the role of evolutionary perspectives in comparative research, this argument necessitates a radical shift in the study of episodic memory in nonhumans.
... O mel é um produto biológico de alto valor nutricional utilizado como alimento humano desde a antiguidade (Ransome, 2004;Crittenden, 2011). Atualmente, para ser comercializado o mel precisa atender aos requisitos de qualidade estabelecidos pelas legislações vigentes (Brasil, 2000;Brasil, 2017), a fim de garantir a segurança alimentar dos consumidores deste produto. ...
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Tendo em vista a importância da correta rotulagem de alimentos para garantir a segurança alimentar dos consumidores, este estudo objetivou avaliar a rotulagem de produtos com a denominação de venda Mel e a adequação das informações às legislações vigentes. Realizou um estudo transversal descritivo, em 18 estabelecimentos visitados em Araçuaí-MG, posteriormente elaborou um Checklist com as informações obrigatórias e que devem contar nos rótulos de méis comercializados no varejo. Os dados obtidos comparados com as legislações sobre rotulagem geral e específica para mel. Das oito embalagens com rótulos encontradas, informações como: lista de ingredientes, conteúdo líquido, nome e razão social, endereço do estabelecimento e do importador, registro no SIF e MAPA SIF/DIPOA, categoria do estabelecimento, CNPJ, conservação e composição do produto, marca, lote, informação nutricional e alerta de restrição ao consumo por crianças com menos de 1 ano de idade constaram em 63% das amostras. Já a identificação de origem botânica, data de fabricação, prazo de validade, foi conforme em 88% dos rótulos e apenas 75% constaram instruções de preparo e uso do produto. Os rótulos avaliados apresentaram não conformidades em relação ao exigido pela legislação.Diante disso, este trabalho demonstra para apicultores, produtores e consumidores a importância do cumprimento da legislação de rotulagem de produtos alimentícios como o mel evitando assim qualquer tipo de sanção ou riscos à saúde pública.
... (Wells, 2016). However, pre-agricultural populations may also have regularly consumed high levels of carbohydrates, for example, honey (Crittenden, 2011) or fat by consuming the meat of animals that had gained large energy stores in preparation for winter survival (Hayden, 2001). During periods of scarcity, the consumption of foods with low protein content may also have led to the over-consumption of energy to satisfy protein requirements (Simpson and Raubenheimer, 2005). ...
Evolutionary medicine portrays metabolic diseases as a problem of contemporary obesogenic lifestyles in a globalised world within the context of mismatch to past environments. Over a single generation, there has been a dramatic rise in the global rate of such diseases including type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and obesity affecting high-, medium- and low-income countries. Relatively little attention has been paid, however, to evidence from prehistory that may document metabolic conditions or how to interpret them within a broader ecological context. While diabetes and obesity are very challenging to diagnose in the bioarchaeological record, two other metabolic conditions, gout and DISH, are easily identifiable and can yield useful information about the past, allowing inferences about the possible existence of T2DM in individuals. We present evidence from the bioarchaeological record for these conditions and how they have been used to reconstruct the health of past populations. We also provide an overview of ecological and life history models that can be used to contextualise bioarchaeological data in efforts to reconstruct the evidence for past metabolic diseases, particularly as subsistence patterns underwent major transitions. The evidence suggests that metabolic disorders are not restricted to our modern, industrialised world, but are likely have much deeper origins than are typically recognised in clinical, biomedical research. Continued use of bioarchaeological data can assist in reconstructing much more evidence for the conditions in which chronic non-communicable diseases were able to develop and afflict human populations.
... Within-camp food sharing is endemic (Hawkes et al., 1991Marlowe, 2010;Stibbard Hawkes et al., 2020) and, except for clear gender divisions in food procurement strategy (Apicella et al., 2017;Hawkes et al., 1997Hawkes et al., , 2018, there is little labor specialization. Men typically prioritize hunting game (Hawkes et al., 1991;Stibbard-Hawkes et al., 2018;Stibbard-Hawkes, 2019;Wood & Marlowe, 2014) and collecting honey (Berbesque et al., 2016;Crittenden, 2011;Wood et al., 2014), while women typically forage for fruits and tubers Schoeninger et al., 2001). June through September is the dry season and also the "high season" for tourist visits. ...
Full-text available
Humans’ willingness to bear costs to benefit others is an evolutionary puzzle. Cultural group selection proposes a possible answer to this puzzle—cooperative norms and institutions proliferate due to group-level benefits. For instance, belief in knowledgeable, moralizing deities is theorized to decrease selfishness and favoritism through threat of supernatural punishment. Similarly, norms of fairness and cooperation are theorized to have coevolved with engagement in markets, which necessitate anonymous exchanges. We investigate these theories among the Tanzanian Hadza who have historically had minimal exposure to markets or major world religions. Engagement with Western tourists, village markets, and Christian missionaries is increasingly leading researchers to ask how such interactions have affected cooperative behavior. We interviewed 172 Hadza from 15 camps varying in market proximity, and measured cooperative decision-making using economic games. We find that exposure to missionaries is associated with increased belief in a knowledgeable and punitive deity, with mixed evidence that these beliefs, in turn, affect game play. In contrast, we find some evidence that those living in market-adjacent regions exhibit less in-group favoritism when cooperating. These results support the claim that market-norms, and to some degree religious beliefs, facilitate greater cooperation and fairness in social interactions
Insects are the most abundant and diverse organisms on this earth. They are the environmental engineers, and the major service providers to our ecosystems. Insects provide us four major types of ecosystem services, i.e. provisioning services, regulating services, supporting services, and cultural services. By contributing towards the structure, fertility, and spatial dynamics of soil, insects maintain the biodiversity and food webs. They provide medical and industrial products, and are even consumed as food. In agroecosystems, insects perform functions, like pollination, nutrient and energy cycling, pest suppression, seed dispersal, and decomposition of organic matter, feces, and carrion. In terms of money, the ecosystem services provided by insects have an estimated value of US dollar 57 billion per year in the United States alone, and insect pollination may have an economic value of US dollar 235–577 billion per year worldwide. Despite their wide ecological significance, very little information is available on the functional roles that insects play and the ecosystem services they provide. The absence of detailed information is due to the lack of manipulative controlled experiments for several services provided by insects. Hence, there is an urgent need to address the different insect groups and the ecosystem services they provide so that their diversity may be conserved for our own survival.KeywordsInsectsEnvironmental engineeringEcosystem servicesPest suppression
Hadza food-sharing is extremely generous and often extends to individuals outside the household. Some anthropologists have proposed that individuals, especially men, share food beyond the household in order to signal foraging skill. While correlational data have been used to both evidence and critique this hypothesis, it has less often been experimentally tested. Here, we conducted an incentivised experiment to test whether Hadza adults are indeed willing to forgo caloric resources in order to signal their foraging skills. In this study, 196 Hadza adults were given the opportunity to participate in two games - an aim game and a search game - designed to advertise their skill as foragers. We varied the incentive structure of both games, adjusting i) whether there was a caloric cost (i.e., honey) to play, and ii) whether success in each game was rewarded with a prize (i.e., a colored bracelet), which functioned as a visible signal of skill. Although the aim game was universally popular when there was no cost to play, we found that individuals generally valued calories more than signaling opportunities and were unwilling to forgo caloric resources to continue participation in either game. In line with signaling theory, we did observe age and gender difference in willingness to wager calories for signaling opportunities. Men were more likely than women to forgo calories in order to participate. Younger people (<37), especially younger men, were also more likely to forgo calories to play than older people.
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This study investigates the price effects of honey quality attributes in Spain. Price and product characteristics are collected from 264 honey labels found on the shelves of the main representative retail stores available in the national territory. The marginal effects and the implicit prices of honey characteristics are assessed through a hedonic price approach. Results show that the prices of honey are affected by leader brands sold in gourmet stores and hypermarkets in glass packages compared to producer brands sold in discounts stores and supermarkets in plastic packages. The organic production and the protected designation of origin quality labels generate positive marginal effects on the prices of honey, as well. Regarding the origin of honey, the highest relative and absolute consumer price premiums are received for honey coming from the European Union and Spain compared with blend honey coming from EU and non‐EU countries. Consumer implicit prices are also influenced by mono‐floral and gourmet honey with additional properties (e.g., ginseng) compared with the multifloral varieties. These findings are a useful source for a better understanding of the evolution of honey in the Spanish market. Spanish beekeepers who can differentiate their honey, may use these results as an orientation for their business strategies.
Numerous dietary strategies are currently used for the prevention of metabolic diseases and for weight loss. Some of the strategies that are used do not have an appropriate physiological-nutritional basis and do not take into account the genetic changes that have occurred recently. Thus, in certain cases, they can be harmful to human health. This review aims to explain the genetic mutations that have occurred during human evolution from the first hominids to Homo sapiens and to explain how they have influenced the way we feed ourselves. Some mutations favoured brain development, and others are related to the digestion of nutrients, such as lactose and starch. The influence of the domestication of food and the practice of cooking on human nutrition is also explained. In addition, this review intends to justify the current recommendations on the caloric distribution of macronutrients based on the important influence of genetic changes and adaptations that have occurred in our species.
Research on the mental abilities of chimpanzees and bonobos has been widely celebrated and used in reconstructions of human evolution. In contrast, less attention has been paid to the abilities of gorillas and orangutans. This 1999 volume aims to help complete the picture of hominoid cognition by bringing together the work on gorillas and orangutans and setting it in comparative perspective. The introductory chapters set the evolutionary context for comparing cognition in gorillas and orangutans to that of chimpanzees, bonobos and humans. The remaining chapters focus primarily on the kinds and levels of intelligence displayed by orangutans and gorillas compared to other great apes, including performances in the classic domains of tool use and tool making, imitation, self-awareness, social communication and symbol use. All those wanting more information on the mental abilities of these sometimes neglected, but important primates will find this book a treasure trove.
Starting with the onset of the last glaciation approximately 100,000 years ago and continuing to the end of the Late Pleistocene approximately 10,000 years ago, human tooth size began to reduce at a rate of 1% every 2,000 years. Both the mesial-distal and the buccal-lingual dimensions of mandibular and maxillary teeth were undergoing the same rate of reduction. From the beginning of the Post-Pleistocene until the present, the overall rate of dental reduction doubled, becoming approximately 1% per thousand years. Buccal-lingual dimensions are now reducing twice as fast as mesial-distal dimensions, and maxillary teeth are reducing at an even more rapid rate than mandibular teeth. Late Pleistocene rates are comparable in Europe and the Middle East. The Post-Pleistocene rates are also the same for Europe, the Middle East, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. It is suggested that the cookery at the beginning of the Late Pleistocene allowed the earlier changes to occur. The use of pottery within the last 10,000 years further reduced the amount of selection that had previously maintained usable tooth substance. Reduction then occurred as a consequence of the Probable Mutation Effect (Brace, 1963; McKee, 1984).
The development of savanna-type grasslands is a relatively recent phenomena in East Africa. The stable carbon isotopic composition of paleosol carbonates from fossil localities in East Africa show that C 4 vegetation was present by about 8-9 Ma but made up only a relatively small proportion of the total biomass. Although the proportion of C 4 vegetation increased in the Pliocene and Pleistocene there is no evidence for the development of virtually pure C 4 grasslands, as is characterized by tropical grasslands today, until Middle Pleistocene times. This has important implications concerning the evolution of mammals in Africa, including hominids.