Navigation Links
The roots of civilization trace back to ... roots

About five to seven million years ago, when the lineage of humans and chimpanzees split, edible root plants similar to rutabagas and turnips may have been one of the reasons. According to research by anthropologists Greg Laden of the University of Minnesota and Richard Wrangham of Harvard University, the presence of fleshy underground storage organs like roots and tubers must have sustained our ancestors who left the rain forest to colonize the savannah. They have published their research in the October issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.

"You can think of roots as a kind of 'conveyor belt' ... they were somewhat available in the forest, but abundant on the savannah," said Laden. "Once roots were 'discovered,' chimp-like creatures would not only be able to survive on the savannah, but may well have been compelled to extend their range into more and more open habitats."

When our ape ancestors moved -- for reasons unknown -- onto the open, relatively treeless savannah, they left behind the rain forest and its abundance of fruit and leaves, the mainstays of modern chimpanzee diets. Laden and Wrangham believe that savannah-dwellers may have adopted game as their primary food in place of fruit. But for a fallback food, they may well have taken to eating roots and tubers, which are much more abundant on savannahs than in rain forests.

In the article, Laden and Wrangham say that the evidence lies in the fossil record, specifically teeth and jaws. The teeth and jaws of savannah dwelling apes evolved into large massive jaws, jaw muscles and molars, ideal for grinding roots instead of shearing leaves. The size of the teeth and jaws reflect the apes' secondary food source (roots) instead of primary foods like meats and fruits, which do not require such massive chewing abilities.

While our ancient ancestors may have left the rain forest for the savannah in pursuit of game meat, it was the ability to find and eat roots that may have contri buted to the initial split between humans and the other apes. Laden and Wrangham's paper is available at


Source:University of Minnesota

Related biology news :

1. Scientists discover the cellular roots of graying hair
2. Two NIH initiatives launch intensive efforts to find roots of common diseases
3. Genetic roots of bipolar disorder revealed by first genome-wide study of illness
4. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
5. MSI releases moleculizer - a new approach to simulation of intracellular biochemical networks
6. Bone Density Recovers After Teens Stop Injected Contraceptive
7. Of mice and mens (and womens) contraceptives
8. Critical step traced in anthrax infection
9. DNA traces evolution of extinct sabertooths and the American cheetah-like cat
10. Team led by Carnegie Mellon University scientist finds first evidence of a living memory trace
11. Tracking the memory trace
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/17/2015)... 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. ... Directors. --> --> ... the partnership at TPG Capital, one of the largest ... Billion in revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s Operating ... companies, from 1997 to 2013.  In his first role, ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... interface solutions, today announced expansion of its TDDI ... touch controller and display driver integration (TDDI) ... smartphones. These new TDDI products add to the ... resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD resolution) ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has entered into ... and Harvard for use of its ArxLab cloud-based ... tools. The partnership will support the institute,s efforts ... chemical research information internally and with external collaborators. ... for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015  Northwest Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: NWBO ... personalized immune therapies for solid tumor cancers, announced today ... independent director, and the Company welcomes Neil Woodford,s ... a recent anonymous internet report on NW Bio.  The ... Linda Powers stated, "We agree with Mr. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Pittcon is pleased to ... presentations offered in symposia, oral sessions, workshops, awards, and posters. The core ... of applications such as, but not limited to, biotechnology, biomedical, drug discovery, environmental, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced  today ... rights plan (Rights Plan) in an effort to preserve ... under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). ... use of its NOLs could be substantially limited if ... Section 382 of the Code. In general, an ownership ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), affirms that its business and prospects remain ... , Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB ... program to completion following review of the final ... met Phase 2 Primary Endpoint in men with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: