Plant matter found in recently unearthed Neanderthal teeth confirms that our human ancestors ate their veggies. More from Sara Goudarzi of National Geographic News:
The new hard evidence is microfossils of plant material that investigators found in the dental plaque of 35,000-year-old Neanderthal teeth, said lead study author Amanda Henry, a graduate student in hominid paleobiology at The George Washington University.Maybe if they ate more plants they would have stuck around longer because primitive people that mostly eat meat, don’t live that long. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
"The formation of dental [plaque] traps the plant microfossils from food particles within the matrix of the plaque deposits, so the microfossils are protected and are a unique record of the plant foods put into the mouth," Henry said.
"So we can say with confidence that this individual Neanderthal ate plants," she added.
Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.1But, populations who eat mostly plant foods live a lot longer. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
We now know that greatly increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains. By taking advantage of the year-round availability of high-quality plant foods, we have a unique opportunity to live both healthier and longer than ever before in human history.Maybe centuries from now when they dig up my bones, archeologists will say, “This guy must have eaten a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet!”