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GAME

may have been capable of procuring game prior to the development of stone tools.

The evidence of 2.5 million years ago in Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge points to both tool makers and the con- sumption of game. Animal bones with cut marks indica- tive of butchering found in association with these tools indicate that the hominids who lived there ate game. How these bones were obtained is a subject of debate, because cut marks on the bones are sometimes found overlying tooth marks of carnivores, suggesting scavenging by the hominids. Some researchers argue for hunting or for con- frontational scavenging in which groups of people drove carnivores off still-fleshy animals. Others argue that these people practiced passive scavenging from carcasses that had already been largely consumed. While evidence that might resolve this debate is sparse, the simplicity of the Oldowan tools may favor more passive scavenging (Klein, 2000).

Around 1.8 million years ago Homo erectus appears in the fossil record with a greatly expanded brain and more refined tools. The expansion of the brain dramatically in- creased the energy requirements, as the brain uses energy as much as ten times faster than average body tissue. Hence, it has been argued that increased access to high- quality, readily digestible flesh and marrow may have been essential for brain enlargement. However, corms, tubers, and other subterranean plant foods might have provided equal or greater nutrition for effort, and most historically recorded African hunter-gatherers exploited them heav- ily (Klein, 2000). Moreover, while there are many animal bones associated with H. erectus sites, there are few cut marks on the bones and a lot of carnivore teeth marks, suggesting that the fossil assemblage may not be due to human activity but to people inhabiting the same water- side sites as those favored by other animals.

The use of fire renders game a more viable food, as heating makes the tissue more digestible. So archaeolog- ical evidence of fire might help determine the consump- tion of game. The earliest possible site for fire is Locality 1 in Zhoukoudien, China (600,000–400,000 years ago), but this has been disputed due to the lack of mineral ash in deposits. To date, the earliest undisputed sites are de- posits from 200,000 years ago in African, West Asian, and European caves.

The origin of Neanderthals around 130,000 years ago brings clear evidence of hunting of game. This con- clusion is reached on the basis of faunal remains associ- ated with Neanderthal living sites, wear patterns on their tools, and the analysis of stable isotopes and trace ele- ments in their skeletal remains. Stable isotope analysis has been used in particular to compare the diets of Ne- anderthals with subsequent Homo sapiens. Such an analy- sis of nine H. sapiens and five Neanderthals from the European mid–Upper Paleolithic (about 20,000–28,000 years ago) indicates that the Neanderthals had diets com- posed primarily of large terrestrial herbivores, whereas

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H. sapiens had a broader diet with a heavy reliance on freshwater resources (Richards et al., 2001). M. P. Richards and colleagues conclude that this transition was made possible by refined technology that made it easier to capture freshwater game. Stable isotope analysis of H. sapiens skeletons from sites in Israel dating from 70,000 to 10,000 years before the present reveals an increase in plant foods in the diet 20,000 years ago (Schoeninger, 1982). The change, it is argued, was due to refined tech- nology for processing plant foods.

Hunter-Gatherers

While anatomically near-modern people were present in Africa by 130,000 years ago, not until around 10,000 years ago were plants and animals domesticated. This means that for at least 77 percent of the time the species has been in existence, humans have obtained food by hunt- ing and gathering. Hence, many of behavioral propensi- ties, dietary requirements, and biocultural responses to food likely evolved prior to the advent of agriculture (Bo- gin, 2001). Given this, ethnographic and archaeological data concerning the diets of hunter-gatherers help ex- plain the role of game in human diets.

As with the paleoanthropological data, studies of hunter-gatherer diets are biased by the perception among early researchers that hunting was the most important subsistence strategy. An additional problem in describing the natural or ideal diet of hunter-gatherers is the tremendous variation documented for such diets (Jenike, 2001). Despite the cultural and geographic diversity of hunter-gatherers, spanning from the rainforests of cen- tral Africa to the Arctic tundra of Baffin Island, similar- ities exist across these groups (Bogin, 2001). First, foragers consume a diverse array of food items; 105 species of plants and 144 species of animals among the !Kung San of southern Africa’s Kalahari Desert, 90 species of plants and animals among the Ache of Paraguay’s tropical forest (Hill and Hurtado, 1989), and 10 species of plants and 33 species of animals among the Dogrib of subarctic Canada (Hayden, 1981). Second, gathered rather than hunted foods are the primary source of dietary energy for most foragers. Richard B. Lee (1968) reported that, among 58 foraging societies, the primary subsistence base was gathering for 29, fishing for 18, and hunting for 11. Of those who relied on fishing or hunt- ing, almost all were north or south of the fortieth paral- lel, a region researchers believed was not occupied by Paleolithic foragers. A review of the data in 2000 for 229 hunter-gatherer groups concluded that animal protein and fat provided up to 45 to 65 percent of the energy consumed and that 73 percent of these groups acquired as much as 56 to 65 percent of the energy they consume from animal foods (Cordain et al., 2000). When greater than 35 percent of the energy is from animal foods, the extra is from aquatic game.

The importance of game in the diets of many hunter- gatherer groups is apparent in paleoecological recon-

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