By Don Penven

The term caveman originated when paleontologists

first discovered the skeleton of a pre-historic

human ancestor…

in the Cro-Magnon area of France. The bones were not actually found in a cave—rather it was more like a rock shelter.

Caveman Skull

Paleo, Caveman
Skull

Paleolithic is a term derived from Greek: Paleo-old, Lithic-stone; and thus this era or period in time is named for the fact that these creatures left behind remnants of their having lived there—namely tools made from stone. More simply defined—this period is called the Stone Age.

The name Cro-Magnon has become more of a nickname for these pre-humans (homo sapiens sapiens), and Cro-Magnon-like humans have been radiocarbon dated to 43,000 years BP (before present). Cro-Magnons were a robustly built and powerful species. The body was generally heavy, with a strong musculature. The forehead was straight, with only slight brow ridges and a high forehead. Cro-Magnons were the first humans to have a protruding chin, and their brain capacity was slightly larger than the average of modern humans.

Over time, scientists theorized that the paleo diet consisted of mostly meat, wild plants, grasses, roots and berries. By analyzing soil samples from the habitats of paleo man researchers were able to identify the discarded animal bones and plant pollen.

Researchers offer the theory that our paleolithic ancestors set a standard for the modern day diet. In other words, humans are genetically predisposed to this pre-historic diet, and what paleo man ate from a health stand point is what we should be eating now. But the introduction of agriculture brought with it some dramatic changes that led to today’s dietary choices. Along with cultivation of crops like wheat, barley, corn, legumes, rice and potatoes not only altered our diets, the change brought with it the so-called diseases of affluence.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors were relatively free from the conditions and diseases that fill our hospitals today. But this is not the only discovery being advanced today. DNA analysis indicates that the paleo caveman also had the ability to differentiate the difference between bad-tasting, bitter plants and edible plants.
So why is this a big deal? Just this…

Caveman Teeth

Caveman Jaw Bones

Two researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno discovered minute particles of dental plaque from 58 sample prehistoric jawbones. While other dietary indicators disappear with time, dental plaque or dental calculus remains intact.

On-going research indicates that this dental plaque contained residues of bad-tasting plants as well as good-tasting plants. Based upon this paleodietary research, scientists believe that our primitive ancestors must have derived some health benefit from plants with a bitter taste—otherwise why eat them?

According to an article in Science Daily, a team of researchers, from Spain and The United Kingdom, has provided the first real evidence that (primitive man) ate a range of plant foods, but they also understood the nutritional and medicinal benefits from including them in their diet.

These ancient creatures“…had a sophisticated knowledge of their natural surroundings which included the ability to select and use certain plants for their nutritional value and for self-medication. While meat was clearly important… our research points to an even more complex diet than has previously been supposed.”

The advent of agriculture dramatically changed our dietary choices over the past 10,000 years. To make matters worse—the industrial revolution of the late 1800’s brought with it packaged, prepared foods. Sugar and salt were added in great quantities to entice our taste buds into consuming quantities that slowly moved us toward a population that fell victim to a host of new health ailments.

The Paleo Caveman species left no written record, but cave paintings do tell part of their story. To learn more about our pre-historic ancestors please take a few moments to…

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