Ancient communities were more plant-based than thought

| 21 May 2024
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A new study using human bone isotope chemistry to model the diets of early Holocene-era humans in the Andean highlands has found that plant foods made up 70 to 95 per cent of these foragers’ diet, with tubers like potatoes probably dominating. This finding adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting early human populations relied more heavily on plant foods than previously thought – more gathering than hunting!

Chen JC, Aldenderfer MS, Eerkens JW et al. 2024. Stable isotope chemistry reveals plant-dominant diet among early foragers on the Andean Altiplano, 9.0–6.5 cal. ka. PLoS ONE. 19 (1) e0296420.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
Justine joined Viva! in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. After working as a campaigner, then researcher and writer, she is now Viva!’s head of research and her work focuses on animals, the environment and health. Justine’s scientific training helps her research and write both in-depth scientific reports, such as White Lies and the Meat Report, as well as easy-to-read factsheets and myth-busting articles for consumer magazines and updates on the latest research. Justine also recently wrote the Vegan for the Planet guide for Viva!’s Vegan Now campaign.

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