Ancient Relatives of Humans Ate Wood

Scientists analyzed dental tartar in fossils
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2012 4:15 PM CDT
New fossil evidence suggests early humans dined on bark and leaves.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Did our ancestors eat trees? New fossil evidence shows that a 2 million-year-old relative of humans nibbled on bark and leaves, reports BBC. Scientists analyzed the teeth of two members of the "southern ape" species, or Australopithecus sediba, and found evidence that they included wood in their diet.

"They were eating bark and woody substances, which is quite a unique dietary mechanism," says a paleontologist. "It hasn't been reported for any other human relative before." The first fossils of this particular ancestor were uncovered in South Africa in 2008. Scientists figured they ate fruit and plants but turned to bark in tougher foraging times.

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