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Ref ID: 34326
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Sponheimer, Matt
Lee-Thorp, Julia A.
Title: Isotopic evidence for the diet of an early hominid, <i>Australopithecus africanus<i>
Date: 1999
Source: Science
Abstract: Current consensus holds that the 3-million-year-old hominid Australopithecus africanus subsisted on fruits and leaves, much as the modern chimpanzee does. Stable carbon isotope analysis of A. africanus from Makapansgat Limeworks, South Africa, demonstrates that this early hominid ate not only fruits and leaves but also large quantities of carbon-13– enriched foods such as grasses and sedges or animals that ate these plants, or both. The results suggest that early hominids regularly exploited relatively open environments such as woodlands or grasslands for food. They may also suggest that hominids consumed highquality animal foods before the development of stone tools and the origin of the genus Homo.
Date Created: 8/10/2001
Volume: 283
Page Start: 386
Page End: 755