Friday, March 30, 2007

Why Carnivores Rock

"Stop being a vegan and start enjoying what you eat."

Jamie Oliver, British celebrity chef

I caught a National Geograpic Special at 4 am this morning after my failed attempt at falling asleep at an earthly hour. It's about human evolution.

Christians, Muslims and whoever else who will willfully stone me to death for even mentioning that blasphemous 'E' word, please stop reading right now. Vegans can stay.

As I was saying, this TV program dealt with the idea that our evolutionary ancestors coexisted with other hominid species and may have even competed with them - and discussed the possible advantages that our great x some really big number grandfather may possess over the other cavemen that made him the Ultimate Survivor, while the losers bit the dust of history.

The bulk of the story dealt with Homo erectus, the first known hominid to be more man than ape. Here's a photograph of him excavated from some African cave;

"Me, big hairy meat-eater!"

What interested me the most was the fact that Homo erectus, our ancestor, beat the other troglodytes by the simple reason that he ate meat.

Get this; we won't be around at all if our forefathers had been vegans.

Apparently, Homo erectus was the only caveman species that migrated out of Africa to spread all over the globe because the other cavemen ate only fruits and shoots (which, supposedly, was rather rare outside of Africa at that time). Homo erectus had the significant advantage of being able to adapt to new food sources - and in this case; meat, glorious meat!

Another substantial milestone in human evolution was the discovery (and control) of fire, postulated to be done so by Homo erectus as well. This allowed them to cook meat and that made them a heck lot smarter in a relatively short period of time. How? Allow me to explain;
  • Raw meat is tough and you'll need a lot of time to chew through them.
  • Cooking meat will tenderize it, cutting down the chewing time to 1/5th the time required to chomp down raw steaks.
  • Softer, cooked meat meant that Homo erectus will go on to develop smaller jaw muscles.
  • Smaller jaw muscles meant lesser attachment surfaces for them on the skull, leaving it to develop more space for a bigger brain.
But the centre point here is still meat. Brain tissue burns a lot more energy per minute compared to muscles - so a big brain is actually a liability in the animal kingdom, as food isn't exactly easy to come by. Meat was essential for our ancestors to become more intelligent (so to speak) as it provides more energy per gram compared to greens.

Meat = Smart!


It was also found out that an apeman, Paranthropus robustus, lived in the same place in Africa as Homo erectus. Robustus ate termites - which was an even richer calorie source compared to meat. Instead of us, it could have been Robustus' descendants that ultimately survived and rule the world today. It could have...

But one simple fact separates us from them;

Homo erectus ate Paranthropus robustus (No, I'm not joking).

Eat meat! Do not discard our legacy! Celebrate our existence!

k0k s3n w4i


Zzzyun said...

omg! is all this true? really interesting...

and seriously, did homo erectus ate paranthopus robustus?? omg..!

k0k s3n w4i said...

All of this is suppose to be the latest theories in the advent of new discoveries and the commentator kept assuring me that the whole anthropology community was forced to rethink all present theories

They found a charred finger bone of Robustus in an Erectus barbeque pit. ;p

lingghezhi said...

what if i survived on egg maggi and nandini milk?

Zzzyun said...

oh wow.

well im glad that homo erectus won! i dont fancy eating termites. yee..and choice of food is so limited too.

btw, i tot we're homa sapiens? whats with the erectus name anyway? sounds so wrong, lol

k0k s3n w4i said...


Your genes are doomed then. We won't be seeing any Lingghezi jrs. around ;p


Homo erectus was the direct ancestor of the Homo sapiens (or so it is currently believed)

Strictly speaking, you won't be around at all to eat whatever had the robustus fellas survived instead of us :)