Some early Europeans consistently consumed fish 40,000 years ago

August 12th, 2009 - 3:26 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, August 12 (ANI): In a new study, scientists have determined that at least some of the European early modern humans consistently consumed fish 40,000 years ago, supplementing their diet of terrestrial animals.

The study was carried out by Erik Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, and Michael Richards of the University of British Columbia and the Max Planck Institute.

The researchers accumulated carbon and nitrogen stable isotope data from fossilized remains of humans in Europe, which pointed towards a significant shift in the range of animal resources exploited with the spread of modern humans into Europe 40,000 years ago.

Both the preceding Neanderthals and the incoming modern humans regularly and successfully hunted large game such as deer, cattle and horses, as well as occasionally killing larger or more dangerous animals.

There is little evidence for the regular eating of fish by the Neanderthals.

However, the stable isotope data suggests that at least some of the European early modern humans consistently consumed fish, supplementing their diet of terrestrial animals.
It is likely that this greater emphasis on small, harder to obtain, sources of protein reflects growing human populations in Europe and the pressure they placed on their environments.

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