We are interested in the evolution of hominin diets for several reasons. One is the fundamental concern over our present-day eating habits and the consequences of our societal choices, such as obesity prevalent in some cultures and starvation in others. Another is that humans have learned to feed themselves in extremely varied environments, and these adaptations, which are fundamentally different from those of our closest biological relatives, have to have had historical roots of varying depth. The third, and the reason why most paleoanthropologists are interested in this question, is that a species' trophic level and feeding adaptations can have a strong effect on body size, locomotion, "life history strategies", geographic range, habitat choice, and social behavior. Diet is key to understanding the ecology and evolution of our distant ancestors and their kin, the early hominins. A study of the range of foods eaten by our progenitors underscores just how unhealthy many of our diets are today. T
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Author Biography - Peter S. Ungar
Peter S. Ungar is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas.