Hungry human ancestors living in southern Africa at least a million years ago had a simple approach to putting more protein and fat in their diet: They used sharpened pieces of bone to tear apart termite mounds so that they could gulp down mouthfuls of the edible insects.
Both chimpanzees and modern human foragers enthusiastically eat termites and other bugs. For the first time, though, researchers have direct evidence for this behavior in our fossil ancestors. Ancient bone tools used for digging tubers out of the ground exhibit different marks than do those used to open termite mounds, according to a report that will appear in an upcoming Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.