LONDON (TIP): Early humans who roamed the African savanna three-and-a-half million years ago had a diet more like a cow than a great ape – comprising of grass and sedges, a new Oxford study has found. Researchers found that Australopithecus bahrelghazali chomped its way through rushes and grasses rather than soft fruits preferred by its chimpanzee cousins, thanks to its powerful jaws and big grinding teeth.
The study shows the ancestral human diet diverged from that of the apes much sooner than previously thought, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported. Experts analysed the amount of carbon in teeth from A bahrelghazali specimens dug up from a fossil site in Chad with the help of a laser that freed carbon from the enamel. This showed the creature’s diet would have been rich in C4 plants such as grasses and sedges.