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Eating meat lead to the evolution of mankind?


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I got into a random debate with a lady yesterday, she claimed that eating meat contributed to the growth in the human brain that lead to mankind evolving from neanderthals. Has anyone heard of this before. I did a quick google search but what I found so far quickly that supported her theory didn't sound very legit.

 

-Dylan

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i always get this one from people in work! so my reply is usually something like, well it hasnt done us much good has it? more people are sick than ever before, more wars, more starvation, more animal suffering.......yeh we've evolved real well!

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I got into a random debate with a lady yesterday, she claimed that eating meat contributed to the growth in the human brain that lead to mankind evolving from neanderthals. Has anyone heard of this before. I did a quick google search but what I found so far quickly that supported her theory didn't sound very legit.

 

-Dylan

 

It is a hypothesis that is out there but there isn't any sort of scientific consensus on the subject.

 

It has been covered at PaleoVeganlolgy a great blog that doesn't have to do with the Paleo diet but rather is run by a paleontologist. http://paleovegan.blogspot.com

 

In the end it really doesn't matter if it did or didn't. The moment in evolution is over and meat is required for brain function now.

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Ha ha nice one MrBear…DeEvolution?

Evolution is such a complex and diverse phenomenon that modern scientist can’t fully explain it. But if all were doing here is making speculation than you can easily make a case in the other direction. Mankind is approximately 2.5 million years old and yet the first civilizations didn’t appear until about 8,000 BC. One of the main reason that civilizations started was because of farming. Once people learned how to grow crops they had an abundance of food and could barter. So you could say vegetables not meat helped us evolve.

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Cruelty is cruelty regardless of our 'ancestors' involvement with it. We are at a stage where we can stop and think about our own involvement. ie. Human survival does not depend on meat consumption. With the rate of deforestation, climate change, fresh water shortages etc, I personally don't expect humans need to worry much about future 'evolution'. Even if there was time for further human evolution, the genetically modified strain of humans will just take over. (I jest.. sort of)

 

Why aren't chimpanzees endowed with human brains? They eat meat.

And why aren't lions and tigers smarter than us? They eat a lot more meat! I think the meat eating 'theory' is thus debunked. Or perhaps the cats are just biding their time and will soon wage war, then round up the humans and put them all on factory farms. hmm... wouldn't that be true karma.

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Ha ha nice one MrBear…DeEvolution?

Evolution is such a complex and diverse phenomenon that modern scientist can’t fully explain it. But if all were doing here is making speculation than you can easily make a case in the other direction. Mankind is approximately 2.5 million years old and yet the first civilizations didn’t appear until about 8,000 BC. One of the main reason that civilizations started was because of farming. Once people learned how to grow crops they had an abundance of food and could barter. So you could say vegetables not meat helped us evolve.

 

 

yeah thats ^ a ^ good ^ one too, not thought of it that way!

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Look at what spiritual masters said about eat animals... they don't eat them., They said that eat animals is the cause of a lot of our problems... for our body and also for our spirit. And i think like that too.

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There's evidence our ancestors could have cooked their food 1.9 million years ago. If so, they could have obtained lots of extra energy from starchy tubers and other foods to grow bigger brains.

 

There may also have been a boost to evolution caused by a mutation in how a particular gene is regulated. An article based on the following study:

PLoS Biol. 2005 Dec;3(12):e387.

Ancient and recent positive selection transformed opioid cis-regulation in humans.

PMID: 16274263

 

Says:

 

'Researchers have discovered the first brain regulatory gene that shows clear evidence of evolution from lower primates to humans. They said the evolution of humans might well have depended in part on hyperactivation of the gene, called prodynorphin (PDYN), that plays critical roles in regulating perception, behavior and memory.

 

They reported that, compared to lower primates, humans possess a distinctive variant in a regulatory segment of the prodynorphin gene, which is a precursor molecule for a range of regulatory proteins called "neuropeptides." This variant increases the amount of prodynorphin produced in the brain.

 

While the researchers do not understand the physiological implications of the activated PDYN gene in humans, they said their finding offers an important and intriguing piece of a puzzle of the mechanism by which humans evolved from lower primates.'

 

Full article at:

medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=34876

 

The full study is available on PubMed.

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  • 6 months later...

I saw something on a TV show on chimps and I thought of this post.

 

On the show it talked about how the males that killed an animal would share it with the other alpha males and then share some with the females. They said those females were more likely to remember the favor and mate with them later on. I think it is pretty relevant to relate our behaviors to chimpanzees since they are the closest living relative we have.

 

My guess is that it could have been the same with humans. Since we are by no means equipped physically to be predators it would have been more likely that the smarter males would have devised methods of hunting and subsequently been more likely to mate with females.

 

Maybe it's not right but it is at least more likely in my opinion. We can only really ever guess at what made us human and will likely never know. It's just a plausible alternative for the sake of debate. That is if eating meat were the only reason and it wasn't caused by anything else. Anyway that is one of the primary drivers of evolution, our choices on who we decide to mate with.

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I've done a quite a bite of research into evolution over the last 15 years or so (bit of a hobby), but when it comes to what made us human, there is circumstantial evidence to show cooking food had a lot to do with it, this allowed for us to develop smaller stomachs and larger brains. Of course, there are other factors, but from what I've read, i don't believe meat had anything to do with making us human, however i do believe (depending on the environment) meat and fish consumption would have been a must for survival.

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The theory is very flawed. In order for humans to eat meat, they needed the intelligence to create weapons to hunt. So, the intelligence came first, then eating meat. And I use the term intelligence loosely.

 

Paleolithic man didn't have to be a good hunter, rather, a good opportunist.

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not to insult the male-gender (i am a man too) but some anthropological studies, noticed that the causes that lead primitives to hunt(scavaging is not included) were:

-general sense of inferiority towars women, since most of the tribes were matriarchal and gathering- the main form of livelihood- was a woman job.

-the connection between sex and giving birth was missing, since the primitives tribes never had constant relationship with animals for 9 months to understand that sexual acts were leading to reproduction. so the woman was seen as creator of life, so near to divinity

 

to fight this inner sense of inferiority, men started to hunt big animals to feel useful to the tribe and powerful, though hunting was practiced few times per month.

plus nomadism brought humans to migrate to northern areas, where cold, growing population, and years of tradition gave humans more security and sense of need to hunt.

from this we all know how it ended, sedentarism, agriculture, sheep-farming, domestication, separation of humans from nature.

the earth and everything that belongs to it (animals, plants etc) have been domesticated, as the same time the woman and the female symbol were degraded, this should give an answer.

through this phases the step between agriculture and capitalism is not very long, as the creation of state and social hierarchies.

we arrived to the point were civilization is the main cancer of the planet, and no when people say "we evolved because of hunting and tool skills" in a positive way, thats totally bullshit. we lost every connection with our real nature, and i am sure that eating meat (especially if we kill) is not part of our nature for both physically and mind reasons- the fact that primitives before to kill an animal, used to pray gods to free them from the sens of guilty, should be an example.

 

humans use predator-animals as comparison to justify our need to eat meat, but at the same time we refuse that we run away from our natural animal behaviour and connection with mother earth, enslaving torturing and brutally kill animals without giving them the same power level to fight back, or to run away, as other predators do with their preys. that is not hunting, that is pathetic cowardice

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I think there is no way to know for certain, but there is a lot of evidence that suggests meat eating was a part of human culture for way more than 10,000 years. Early humans had to be smart enough to make tools but we see primates use tools too so once again, we do not know if the intelligence or hunting came first. There are dumb and smart herbivore creatures. Elephants are extremely intelligent, rabits... not so much. I will admit that most meat eating land animals seem to be smarter. Hunting is difficult, if you have ever tried it. Only thing I know is that it feels wrong to kill animals, and that nobody has proven to me that there is any nutrient we need which can only be found in meat. I think it is a bad argument to have since there are good points on both sides yet we can prove nothing. So at the end of the day, I would tell that lady that she cannot prove anything, and continue to show off what a meat-free physique looks like; proof that one can live healthy on a vegan diet.

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