Navigation Links
From seed to nuts: human ancestor's face evolved to eat survival foods
Date:2/4/2009

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The facial structure of an ancient relative of modern humans may have evolved to allow them to eat large, hard nuts and seeds as part of a survival strategy, according to a new study by an international team of researchers that includes Florida State University's Dennis E. Slice.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, challenge a long-standing hypothesis that the distinctive facial skeleton of Australopithecus africanus, a human relative who lived in Africa more than 2 million years ago, was a dietary adaptation for feeding on either small, hard objects or large volumes of food. The unique facial features included columns of bone positioned along either side of the nasal cavity that acted as struts to reinforce the face.

Using finite element analysis an engineering technique used to examine how structures of complex design respond to external loads as well as comparative, imaging and experimental methods, the team found that a small-object or high-volume diet was unlikely to explain the evolution of facial anatomy in this species. Instead, the team suggests that A. africanus might have used enlarged premolars, also known as bicuspids, and a structurally reinforced face to crack open and ingest large, hard nuts and seeds during periods when preferred, softer foods were in short supply.

"An interesting thing about these results is that they suggest an important role for relatively rare events in directing evolutionary change," Slice said. "The overall structure of the Australopith face looks well-adapted to the sort of function we tested in our paper, but this is at odds with molar microwear patterns that suggest a varied diet of relatively few hard foods. It is possible that their facial architecture was driven not by their day-to-day activities but by their capacity to survive hard times by switching to what are called 'fallback foods.'"


'/>"/>

Contact: Dennis Slice
dslice@fsu.edu
850-645-1325
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1

Related biology news :

1. Early humans had jaws of steel
2. Ecologists report quantifiable measures of natures services to humans
3. Human DNA repair process recorded in action
4. Stress disrupts human thinking, but the brain can bounce back
5. New insights into a leading poultry disease and its risks to human health
6. The Evolution of Human Aggression: Feb. 25-27 conference
7. Director of Berman Institute comments on FDA Approval of first human embryonic stem cell trial
8. Researchers genetically link Lou Gehrigs disease in humans to dog disease
9. Researchers examine developing hearts in chickens to find solutions for human heart abnormalities
10. Robo-surgery: As safe and capable as a human assistant in key-hole gallbladder removal
11. Microbot motors fit to swim human arteries
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)...  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an innovative ... verification solutions, announced today they will participate as a ... thru May 17, 2017, in Washington D.C.,s ... Identity impacts the lives of billions ... evolving digital world, defining identity is critical to nearly ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ALBANY, New York , April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... highly competitive, as its vendor landscape is marked by ... in the market is however held by five major ... and Safran. Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% ... majority of the leading companies in the global military ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... India , April 13, 2017 According to ... Proofing, Identity Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, ... MarketsandMarkets™, the IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion ... Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/20/2017)... ... June 20, 2017 , ... Do More with OHAUS , With ... a trusted supplier in the weighing industry, to extending its expertise across the entire ... reactions, immunoassays, hybridizations and more, allowing for its customers to 'Do More' ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... ... A colony of healthy honey bees is like a superorganism--individual bees provide ... containing nutrients necessary for growth and survival. Better nutrition gives the colony a strong ... a decline in honey bee health. Sick and weakened bees diminish the colony's resiliency, ...
(Date:6/15/2017)... ... June 15, 2017 , ... Cybrexa ... Series B round of financing in the amount of $6 million. An investment ... participated in the round. , The Series B funding will enable Cybrexa to ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... ... June 14, 2017 , ... ... discuss the initiative steered by the executive search firm, “Building Value in Precision ... Board of Directors of Foundation Medicine, led an open discussion with expert panelists ...
Breaking Biology Technology: