Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter

Our earliest ancestors ate their food raw — fruit, leaves, maybe some nuts. When they ventured down onto land, they added things like underground tubers, roots and berries.

It wasn't a very high-calorie diet, so to get the energy you needed, you had to eat a lot and have a big gut to digest it all. But having a big gut has its drawbacks.

"You can't have a large brain and big guts at the same time," explains Leslie Aiello, an anthropologist and director of the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York City, which funds research on evolution. Digestion, she says, was the energy-hog of our primate ancestor's body. The brain was the poor stepsister who got the leftovers.

Read the rest or listen to the story on NPR.


Tags: brain, diet, eating, evolution, food, humans, intelligence

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Replies to This Discussion

I have also heard that humans' brains developed because of omnivorousity, but I think it also had to do with the cooking of food b/c that made it easier to digest.
Yeah, this article covers the cooking / digesting angle, too.
Yeah, probably.


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