Study: Eating fish vital to human evolution

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that seafood played an important role in human brain evolution.

Researchers’ discovery of early stone tools and animal remains in northern Kenya show that almost 2 million years ago humans began eating food such as crocodiles, turtles and fish, which may have been the catalyst for brain development and humanity’s first steps out of Africa.

“This site in Africa is the first evidence that early humans were eating an extremely broad diet,” said Dr. Andy Herries from the University of New South Wales in Australia. “This find is important because fish in particular has been associated with brain development, and it is after this period that we see smaller-brained hominin species evolving into larger-brained Homo species — Homo erectus — the first hominin to leave Africa.”

Herries dated the archeological remains using palaeomagnetism, a technique that identifies the fossilized direction of the Earth’s magnetic field in sediments.

The project was a collaborative effort with the National Museums of Kenya and was led by David Braun of the University of Cape Town in South Africa and Jack Harris of Rutgers University.

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