The Evolution of Human Nutrition

Tracing the evolution of the human diet from our earliest ancestors can lead to a better understanding of human adaptation in the past. It may also offer clues to the origin of many health problems that we currently face, such as obesity and chronic disease. The CARTA public symposium on "The Evolution of Human Nutrition" brought together scientists from a wide variety of backgrounds to explore the diets of our ancestors. What did early humans eat? Were the nutritional requirements and dietary needs of contemporary humans established in our prehistoric past? At this symposium, a lively discussion took place about the changing diets of our ancestors - from australopith diets to current hunter-gatherer diets - and what role these dietary transitions played in the evolution of humans. (from

Agriculture's Impact on Human Evolution. Clark Spencer Larsen (Ohio State Univ) explores what anthropologists have learned about the alterations of the lives, lifestyles, and wellbeing from the study of bones and teeth of our recent ancestors during the one of the most dynamic periods of human evolution. Just as the process of domestication was complex and involved regional economic, social, and environmental circumstances, the impact of the foraging-to-farming transition on human biology and evolution was varied. In general, however, the outcome of this fundamental behavioral shift in how humans acquire food was decline in health owing to population crowding, reduced nutritional quality, and related factors. Collectively, this outcome was central to creating the circumstances that transformed the human biological landscape into what it is today.

8. Agriculture's Impact on Human Evolution

Go to the Series Home or watch other lectures:

1. Background and Overview
2. Diets and Microbes in Primates
3. Current Hunter-Gatherer Diets
4. Australopith Diets
5. Fire, Starch, Meat, and Honey
6. Neanderthal Diets
7. Archaic Human Diets
8. Agriculture's Impact on Human Evolution
9. Impact of Globalization on Children's Nutrition