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Evolution Of The Human Diet Essay

3397 words - 14 pages

The members of the Homo genus possess a combination of unique features that distinguish them from other related species. At the time that each respective species was alive, they were able to walk upright on two legs, use their large brains for the benefit of their species, and could thrive in many geographically and climatically diverse areas of the world. One of the most mysterious quandaries in science is how the lineage of the Homo genus became so different from their primate relatives. Bipedalism, brain size, and location diversity all have a common link that may explain this difference – dietary evolution allowed humans to adapt to their surroundings, and in turn, become a more advanced species. The Homo diet evolved in relation to food availability and nutritional necessity. With the ability to maintain a proper diet, the species of the Homo genus were able to flourish and advance toward the development of modern Homo sapiens.
Nutrition is a basic necessity of life. Without a proper and well-balanced diet, it is difficult for any being, regardless of species, to survive. Unlike that of primates such as the great apes, the human diet is more full of calories and nutrients. Humans have a great understanding of what types of food are necessary to maintain good health. It is difficult to tell when the eating habits of Homo sapiens split apart from the eating habits of these other primates. Yet, one fact is certain. As human evolution continues to progress, the human diet also continues to evolve.
In 1985, scholars S. Boyd Eaton and Melvin J. Konner published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled ‘Paleolithic Nutrition’ that provided insight to he evolution of human nutritional requirements. Although a proper human diet is crucial for rapid population growth and the development of the Homo sapien species, not all humans eat healthy foods. There is a discrepancy between the type of diet that our species began to eat as hunters and gatherers and the modern dietary patterns of humans today. This conflict stems from contrasts between the availability and prevalence of foods high in fat content, human will power, and the knowledge that has emerged of the nutritional needs of humans.
That is why today, in different areas of the world, diseases such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes are becoming more common. There is a significant difference between dietary “wants” and “needs”, which is more of an issue now than ever. In prehistoric times, hunters and gatherers did not have the option to drive to McDonald’s to order a large Big Mac meal. They were forced to live on what vegetation they could find and what meat they could kill. The modern human diet is much more flexible, which makes it difficult for us to control our eating habits and distinguish between what is healthy and what is retrogressive.
In order to gain a complete understanding of how the role of diet impacts human evolution, we must understand the...

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