Ancient hominid had an unusual diet

Grass and sedge eating goes back at least 3 million years

3:02pm, November 12, 2012

A mysterious, 3-million-year-old member of the human evolutionary family had a maverick taste for grasses and flowering plants called sedges, a chemical analysis of the creature’s teeth suggests.

Central Africa’s Australopithecus bahrelghazali was apparently not a devotee of leaves, fruit and other standard fare of early hominids based in forested areas. Instead, it fed mainly on underground parts of grasses and sedges growing in a savanna landscape, say archaeologist Julia Lee-Thorp of the University of Oxford, England, and her colleagues. The work appears online November 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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