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by Milos Pokimica ND

by Milos Pokimica ND

Learn About Nutrition

Vegan Neanderthals? The truth about the real Neanderthal diet

"A typical representation of Neanderthals pictures them as killing the woolly mammoth. However a dental plaque tells a different story about the Neanderthal diet"

The stereotypical representation of Neanderthals pictures them as killing the woolly mammoth. There is archeological evidence to back up a thesis of the neanderthal diet was carnivorous even at the same level of the polar bears, which included meals heavy in large herbivores like the woolly mammoth, reindeer, and woolly rhinoceros.

hunting woolly mammoth
Stereotypical representation of Neanderthals

However, Neanderthal teeth tell a different story. Dental plaque is used to analyze the starches and proteins that were preserved in the plaque. When investigated the wear patterns on their teeth suggest a varied diet. Diet also varied depending on a location with significant regional differences. In some areas, studies imply that Neanderthals were consuming mostly plants, possibly including medicinal ones.

The significant discovery came when scientists analyzed the remains of Neanderthals from El Sidrón, Spain. The Neanderthals from El Sidrón showed zero signs of meat consumption. Not some small amount but complete round zero. Instead of meat, they got calories from plant foods gathered from the forest. Dental plaque was filled with remains of different kinds of nuts, mushrooms, and moss. Neanderthal vegans, how could that fit in the typical accepted image? What about protein and b12?

Dental plaque is a very useful tool because it can preserve genetic material from the food that animals eat for analysis.  Laura Weyrich at the University of Adelaide and a team of researchers were able to produce an amazingly accurate look at what plant and animal species Neanderthals had been eating. They analyzed three samples. Two obtained fossils were from El Sidrón Cave in Spain, including the potential aspirin-popper, while one was from Spy Cave in Belgium (Sidrón Cave- Wikipedia). The analysis again proved the complete diversity of food depending on local habitat ecology that was in the line of optimal foraging theory (OFT).

El Sidon Cave
Researchers work in El Sidrón cave’s “Tunnel of Bones,” where 12 Neanderthal specimens have been recovered.(Antonio Rosas Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSIC)

Neanderthal diet didn’t exist in essence. Diet depended on where the Neanderthals in question lived. The Belgians, for example, followed the meat-heavy pattern because they had to. Genetic material from wild sheep, woolly rhinoceros, and some mushrooms was discovered in dental plaque with also some bones in the cave from horses, mammoths, reindeer, and rhinoceros. Bones tell the identical story as the dental plaque that these groups were hunters. In Belgian habitat, they did not forage for plant foods because there wasn’t any to be found. They had to adapt to survive the cold barren climate by hunting. They probably didn’t like it too much either.

The Spanish Neanderthals appeared to have a more comfortable life. They eat largely mushrooms, pine nuts, and moss, and other kinds of food we would get from foraging in a forest. Thus Neanderthals from the north were hunters, Neanderthals from the south were foragers.

What does this evidence tell us? One of the Neanderthals from Spain appeared to have a dental abscess and stomach bug and was self-medicating with poplar (Populus alba), a natural painkiller containing salicylic acid, the same active ingredient in the aspirin. The individual had also consumed the antibiotic-producing mold Penicillium. That is tens of thousands of years before Dr. Alexander Fleming used a strain of Penicillium to develop the first antibiotic, revolutionizing modern medicine. If we want to talk about the founders of medicine, well how about antibiotics and aspirin popping Neanderthals.

Neanderthal upper jaw from El Sidrón cave in Spain
Neanderthal upper jaw from El Sidrón cave in Spain. This individual was eating poplar, a source of aspirin, and had also consumed moldy vegetation that included antibiotic-producing mold Penicillium (dental calculus deposit can be seen on the rear molar)

One other thing was interesting. Weyrich’s team also managed to completely sequence one particular microbe called Methanobrevibacter oralis that lacks genes for resisting antiseptics and digesting maltose. In time this microbe has adapted to hygiene and changing human diets. Weyrich’s team calculated that the Neanderthal strain split apart from those found in modern humans between 112,000 and 143,000 years ago which suggests that the two groups were trading Methanobrevibacter likely when they had sex.

neanderthal and human
It is estimated that 20 percent of Neanderthal DNA currently survives in modern humans.

So why are groups of Neanderthals living in the south being vegan? Probably because they can. There were much more friendly surroundings and a milder climate with more food sources. If we have something we can eat growing beside our cave would we go hunting? Just applying optimal foraging strategies, we have the answer. Neanderthals were anatomically more vegan than carnivorous, but in the northern parts during Ice Age, the climate was harsh and they had to adapt and that took some time. Both Neanderthals and modern humans evolved from Homo erectus. The earliest known migration waves of H. Erectus into Eurasia dated to 1.81 million years ago. Molecular clock genetic research had placed the divergence time of the Neanderthal and modern human lineages from 800,000 to 400,000 years ago. For this reason, most scholars believe Neanderthals descend, via Homo heidelbergensis. Homo erectus population that stayed in Africa would have evolved through the intermediate Homo rhodesiensis, into anatomically modern humans by 300,000 years ago or earlier.

Neanderthal evolved in Europe and humans did in Africa and there are some small physiological differences. Homo sapiens have smaller barrel-shaped chests and narrow pelvises. Neanderthals had bell-shaped torsos with wider pelvises. The conventional explanation has been that Neanderthals needed more oxygen due to the colder climate, so their bodies grew to hold a bigger respiratory system. But this is wrong. Living in the cold climate of Eurasia 300,000 to 30,000 years ago, Neanderthals settled in places like the Polar Urals and southern Siberia. In the midst of a tundra winter, with no plant food sources to be found, animal meat made of fat and protein remained the only energy source. Although the fat is easier to digest, it is scarce in cold conditions. Prey animals burned up their fat stores during the winter and became much leaner. The conclusion must be made that Neanderthals must have been eating a great deal of animal protein.

Protein places huge requirements on kidneys and liver to remove some of the toxic byproducts produced by burning it for energy. Humans have a protein ceiling of between 35 and 50 percent of calories in our diet. Eating much more than that can be dangerous. Neanderthals bodies found a way to utilize more protein by enlarging the liver and kidneys. Chests and pelvises widened also to accommodate these beefed-up organs giving them distinct look. If we look today at Inuit peoples, their diet subsists at times on all-meat and nothing else and they do have larger livers and kidneys and longer ribs than average Europeans. To survive the fat famine, Neanderthals undoubtedly also specialized in hunting massive animals like mammoths. They retain fat longer in poor conditions and require less energy and speed to kill than smaller swifter prey. Mammoths are too big to escape or evade, and we only have to kill one to feast for months because meat does not spoil in constant subzero temperatures. But as these mega-beasts vanished, Neanderthals likely struggled to chase down smaller, swifter prey. In the southern part like Spain, they went the old vegan way.

What all of this tells us about us? We didn’t have over the millennia of living in Ice Age northern climate to adapt to a diet rich in meat to some extent. We evolved in Africa from plan based vegan lineage of 60 million years. Modern humans first left Africa 100,000 years ago in a series of slow-paced migration waves and arrived in southern Europe around 80,000-90,000 years ago.

Therefore, what is the real paleo diet?

Related Posts

  1. monkey eating fish
  2. carnism
  3. Monkey Mirror test
  4. human hunting 1
  5. Homo erectus in the Tautavel prehistory museum in France
  6. Gorilla eating

Sources:

Passages selected from a book: “Go Vegan? Review of Science: Part 1” [Milos Pokimica]

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Know Public Health has no rights of this documentary, we just have shared the video for public health interest. All rights go to, Producers and Directors and the media house for this movie.
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Are we omnivores, carnivores or herbivores? It’s important for animals to eat what they are physiologically and anatomically designed to eat, to improve the chances of survival and health. So, what are humans designed to eat? Dr. Sofia Pineda Ochoa discusses this often misunderstood topic.

The first part of the transcript is included below for reference, and the full transcript (which is too long to have here) is available on our website, along with sources and credits, at this link: http://meatyourfuture.com/2015/09/herbivores-carnivores/

[The following transcript is an approximation of the audio in  video. To hear the audio and see the accompanying visuals, please play the video.]

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT:

Are humans herbivores, carnivores or omnivores? It’s very important for a given animal to eat what they are physiologically and anatomically designed to eat, to improve the chances of survival and health. So, what are humans designed to eat?

When looking at a species to determine what they are in terms of carnivore, omnivore or herbivore, we can look at their behavior or we can look at their biology. From a behavioral standpoint, humans behave as omnivores because we observe many humans in their behavior eating a wide variety of both animal and plant-based foods. Biologically, however, from a physiologic and anatomic standpoint, it’s a different story.

Dr. Williams C. Roberts from the National Institutes of Health and Baylor University — who is the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology and one of the most prominent cardiologists in the world with over 1,500 publications in peer reviewed medical journals — summarized our answer very nicely. He wrote:

“Although most of us conduct our lives as omnivores, in that we eat flesh as well as vegetables and fruits, human beings have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores. The appendages of carnivores are claws; those of herbivores are hands or hooves. The teeth of carnivores are sharp; those of herbivores are mainly flat (for grinding). The intestinal tract of carnivores is short (3 times body length); that of herbivores, long (12 times body length). Body cooling of carnivores is done by panting; herbivores, by sweating. Carnivores drink fluids by lapping; herbivores, by sipping. Carnivores produce their own vitamin C, whereas herbivores obtain it from their diet. Thus, humans have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores.”

That’s right. Humans have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores or omnivores — because omnivores, like bears and raccoons, actually retain most of the carnivorous characteristics, so that they are still able to digest and hunt their prey, and do so effectively.

[Remainder of transcript, along with sources and credits, available here: http://meatyourfuture.com/2015/09/herbivores-carnivores]

Are we omnivores, carnivores or herbivores? It’s important for animals to eat what they are physiologically and anatomically designed to eat, to improve the chances of survival and health. So, what are humans designed to eat? Dr. Sofia Pineda Ochoa discusses this often misunderstood topic.

The first part of the transcript is included below for reference, and the full transcript (which is too long to have here) is available on our website, along with sources and credits, at this link: http://meatyourfuture.com/2015/09/herbivores-carnivores/

[The following transcript is an approximation of the audio in video. To hear the audio and see the accompanying visuals, please play the video.]

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT:

Are humans herbivores, carnivores or omnivores? It’s very important for a given animal to eat what they are physiologically and anatomically designed to eat, to improve the chances of survival and health. So, what are humans designed to eat?

When looking at a species to determine what they are in terms of carnivore, omnivore or herbivore, we can look at their behavior or we can look at their biology. From a behavioral standpoint, humans behave as omnivores because we observe many humans in their behavior eating a wide variety of both animal and plant-based foods. Biologically, however, from a physiologic and anatomic standpoint, it’s a different story.

Dr. Williams C. Roberts from the National Institutes of Health and Baylor University — who is the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology and one of the most prominent cardiologists in the world with over 1,500 publications in peer reviewed medical journals — summarized our answer very nicely. He wrote:

“Although most of us conduct our lives as omnivores, in that we eat flesh as well as vegetables and fruits, human beings have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores. The appendages of carnivores are claws; those of herbivores are hands or hooves. The teeth of carnivores are sharp; those of herbivores are mainly flat (for grinding). The intestinal tract of carnivores is short (3 times body length); that of herbivores, long (12 times body length). Body cooling of carnivores is done by panting; herbivores, by sweating. Carnivores drink fluids by lapping; herbivores, by sipping. Carnivores produce their own vitamin C, whereas herbivores obtain it from their diet. Thus, humans have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores.”

That’s right. Humans have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores or omnivores — because omnivores, like bears and raccoons, actually retain most of the carnivorous characteristics, so that they are still able to digest and hunt their prey, and do so effectively.

[Remainder of transcript, along with sources and credits, available here: http://meatyourfuture.com/2015/09/herbivores-carnivores]

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Are humans omnivores, carnivores or herbivores?

GoVeganWay 351K views September 4, 2021 12:32 am

How much is a human life worth? An innovative cancer therapy promises to save lives. But it is extremely expensive. Will the insurance companies pay for it? What is the manufacturer's return on investment? And do lobbyists drive up prices?

In 2018, the Kymriah gene therapy was approved in Europe. Immune cells are taken from the patient, genetically reprogrammed into cancer killer cells and returned to the patient as an infusion. The results of the Kymriah study only cover a period of 18 months. In 40 percent of patients, lymph gland cancer does not return during this time. It is not clear whether Kymriah has a long-term effect. The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis offers the new therapy - it costs 370,000 Swiss francs per patient. Health insurance companies are not usually prepared to pay that much and are complaining about a lack of transparency. 

But the killer cells were not invented in the Novartis laboratories, but at a US university. When Professor Carl June started his research almost 30 years ago, no pharmaceutical company was interested. It was only thanks to funding from tax money and donations that he was able to develop Kymriah at all. After a story went around the world about a girl with leukemia whose cancer disappeared thanks to Kymriah, the pharmaceutical company contacted Novartis and secured exclusive marketing rights. To launch Kymriah on the market, Novartis funded the necessary clinical trials. It's not an isolated incident: Over 60% of newly approved medicines in the US are developed by small biotech companies or universities. Pharmaceutical companies today frequently act as capital providers, cooperating with universities or buying up biotech companies. 

A paradigm shift has taken place in the pharmaceutical industry: Whereas high drug prices used to be justified by research costs, the industry is now using the value of gained lifetime to argue its case. 

 -------------------------------------------------------------------

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How much is a human life worth? An innovative cancer therapy promises to save lives. But it is extremely expensive. Will the insurance companies pay for it? What is the manufacturer's return on investment? And do lobbyists drive up prices?

In 2018, the Kymriah gene therapy was approved in Europe. Immune cells are taken from the patient, genetically reprogrammed into cancer killer cells and returned to the patient as an infusion. The results of the Kymriah study only cover a period of 18 months. In 40 percent of patients, lymph gland cancer does not return during this time. It is not clear whether Kymriah has a long-term effect. The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis offers the new therapy - it costs 370,000 Swiss francs per patient. Health insurance companies are not usually prepared to pay that much and are complaining about a lack of transparency.

But the killer cells were not invented in the Novartis laboratories, but at a US university. When Professor Carl June started his research almost 30 years ago, no pharmaceutical company was interested. It was only thanks to funding from tax money and donations that he was able to develop Kymriah at all. After a story went around the world about a girl with leukemia whose cancer disappeared thanks to Kymriah, the pharmaceutical company contacted Novartis and secured exclusive marketing rights. To launch Kymriah on the market, Novartis funded the necessary clinical trials. It's not an isolated incident: Over 60% of newly approved medicines in the US are developed by small biotech companies or universities. Pharmaceutical companies today frequently act as capital providers, cooperating with universities or buying up biotech companies.

A paradigm shift has taken place in the pharmaceutical industry: Whereas high drug prices used to be justified by research costs, the industry is now using the value of gained lifetime to argue its case.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

DW Documentary gives you knowledge beyond the headlines. Watch high-class documentaries from German broadcasters and international production companies. Meet intriguing people, travel to distant lands, get a look behind the complexities of daily life and build a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events. Subscribe and explore the world around you with DW Documentary.

Subscribe to:
DW Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW39zufHfsuGgpLviKh297Q?sub_confirmation=1#

DW Documental (Spanish): https://www.youtube.com/dwdocumental
DW Documentary وثائقية دي دبليو: (Arabic): https://www.youtube.com/dwdocarabia

For more visit:
http://www.dw.com/en/tv/docfilm/s-3610
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Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/dw.stories

DW netiquette policy: https://p.dw.com/p/MF1G

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The power of the pharmaceutical companies | DW Documentary

GoVeganWay 648.6K views September 4, 2021 12:24 am

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