Molar macrowear reveals neanderthal eco-geographic dietary variation

Luca Fiorenza, Stefano Benazzi, Jeremy Tausch, Ottmar Kullmer, Timothy Bromage, Friedemann Schrenk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Neanderthal diets are reported to be based mainly on the consumption of large and medium sized herbivores, while the exploitation of other food types including plants has also been demonstrated. Though some studies conclude that early Homo sapiens were active hunters, the analyses of faunal assemblages, stone tool technologies and stable isotopic studies indicate that they exploited broader dietary resources than Neanderthals. Whereas previous studies assume taxon-specific dietary specializations, we suggest here that the diet of both Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens is determined by ecological conditions. We analyzed molar wear patterns using occlusal fingerprint analysis derived from optical 3D topometry. Molar macrowear accumulates during the lifespan of an individual and thus reflects diet over long periods. Neanderthal and early Homo sapiens maxillary molar macrowear indicates strong eco-geographic dietary variation independent of taxonomic affinities. Based on comparisons with modern hunter-gatherer populations with known diets, Neanderthals as well as early Homo sapiens show high dietary variability in Mediterranean evergreen habitats but a more restricted diet in upper latitude steppe/coniferous forest environments, suggesting a significant consumption of high protein meat resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14769
JournalPLoS One
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Fingerprint

Neanderthals
Nutrition
Diet
diet
meat protein
Edible Plants
Herbivory
Meats
Dermatoglyphics
steppes
Meat
coniferous forests
Ecosystem
herbivores
Wear of materials
Technology
Homo sapiens
habitats
Population
Proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Fiorenza, L., Benazzi, S., Tausch, J., Kullmer, O., Bromage, T., & Schrenk, F. (2011). Molar macrowear reveals neanderthal eco-geographic dietary variation. PLoS One, 6(3), [e14769]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0014769

Molar macrowear reveals neanderthal eco-geographic dietary variation. / Fiorenza, Luca; Benazzi, Stefano; Tausch, Jeremy; Kullmer, Ottmar; Bromage, Timothy; Schrenk, Friedemann.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 6, No. 3, e14769, 2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fiorenza, L, Benazzi, S, Tausch, J, Kullmer, O, Bromage, T & Schrenk, F 2011, 'Molar macrowear reveals neanderthal eco-geographic dietary variation', PLoS One, vol. 6, no. 3, e14769. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0014769
Fiorenza, Luca ; Benazzi, Stefano ; Tausch, Jeremy ; Kullmer, Ottmar ; Bromage, Timothy ; Schrenk, Friedemann. / Molar macrowear reveals neanderthal eco-geographic dietary variation. In: PLoS One. 2011 ; Vol. 6, No. 3.
@article{152539446b2443c186515c2d399dfb6a,
title = "Molar macrowear reveals neanderthal eco-geographic dietary variation",
abstract = "Neanderthal diets are reported to be based mainly on the consumption of large and medium sized herbivores, while the exploitation of other food types including plants has also been demonstrated. Though some studies conclude that early Homo sapiens were active hunters, the analyses of faunal assemblages, stone tool technologies and stable isotopic studies indicate that they exploited broader dietary resources than Neanderthals. Whereas previous studies assume taxon-specific dietary specializations, we suggest here that the diet of both Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens is determined by ecological conditions. We analyzed molar wear patterns using occlusal fingerprint analysis derived from optical 3D topometry. Molar macrowear accumulates during the lifespan of an individual and thus reflects diet over long periods. Neanderthal and early Homo sapiens maxillary molar macrowear indicates strong eco-geographic dietary variation independent of taxonomic affinities. Based on comparisons with modern hunter-gatherer populations with known diets, Neanderthals as well as early Homo sapiens show high dietary variability in Mediterranean evergreen habitats but a more restricted diet in upper latitude steppe/coniferous forest environments, suggesting a significant consumption of high protein meat resources.",
author = "Luca Fiorenza and Stefano Benazzi and Jeremy Tausch and Ottmar Kullmer and Timothy Bromage and Friedemann Schrenk",
year = "2011",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0014769",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
journal = "PLoS One",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Molar macrowear reveals neanderthal eco-geographic dietary variation

AU - Fiorenza, Luca

AU - Benazzi, Stefano

AU - Tausch, Jeremy

AU - Kullmer, Ottmar

AU - Bromage, Timothy

AU - Schrenk, Friedemann

PY - 2011

Y1 - 2011

N2 - Neanderthal diets are reported to be based mainly on the consumption of large and medium sized herbivores, while the exploitation of other food types including plants has also been demonstrated. Though some studies conclude that early Homo sapiens were active hunters, the analyses of faunal assemblages, stone tool technologies and stable isotopic studies indicate that they exploited broader dietary resources than Neanderthals. Whereas previous studies assume taxon-specific dietary specializations, we suggest here that the diet of both Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens is determined by ecological conditions. We analyzed molar wear patterns using occlusal fingerprint analysis derived from optical 3D topometry. Molar macrowear accumulates during the lifespan of an individual and thus reflects diet over long periods. Neanderthal and early Homo sapiens maxillary molar macrowear indicates strong eco-geographic dietary variation independent of taxonomic affinities. Based on comparisons with modern hunter-gatherer populations with known diets, Neanderthals as well as early Homo sapiens show high dietary variability in Mediterranean evergreen habitats but a more restricted diet in upper latitude steppe/coniferous forest environments, suggesting a significant consumption of high protein meat resources.

AB - Neanderthal diets are reported to be based mainly on the consumption of large and medium sized herbivores, while the exploitation of other food types including plants has also been demonstrated. Though some studies conclude that early Homo sapiens were active hunters, the analyses of faunal assemblages, stone tool technologies and stable isotopic studies indicate that they exploited broader dietary resources than Neanderthals. Whereas previous studies assume taxon-specific dietary specializations, we suggest here that the diet of both Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens is determined by ecological conditions. We analyzed molar wear patterns using occlusal fingerprint analysis derived from optical 3D topometry. Molar macrowear accumulates during the lifespan of an individual and thus reflects diet over long periods. Neanderthal and early Homo sapiens maxillary molar macrowear indicates strong eco-geographic dietary variation independent of taxonomic affinities. Based on comparisons with modern hunter-gatherer populations with known diets, Neanderthals as well as early Homo sapiens show high dietary variability in Mediterranean evergreen habitats but a more restricted diet in upper latitude steppe/coniferous forest environments, suggesting a significant consumption of high protein meat resources.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=79952791945&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=79952791945&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0014769

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0014769

M3 - Article

VL - 6

JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 3

M1 - e14769

ER -