Human Reliance on Rainforest Resources Began Sooner than Thought

March 13, 2015 11:13 AM

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Diamond- tipped drill was used by the research team to obtain small tooth enamel samples which were later analyzed with the help of mass spectrometer. Almost all the teeth, including the oldest ones which were about 20,000 years old and were found at the Batadomba-lena rock-shelter in southwestern Sri Lanka, indicated a diet which primarily consisted of food from the rainforest. University of Oxford archaeologist Patrick Roberts, who studies early human adaptations, said “Humans have been manipulating and living within dynamic rainforest environments for at least 20,000 years and probably even longer.” Roberts added “The lifestyle, as we can see, was dedicated rainforest subsistence.”

As compared to open habitats, the difficulties in rainforests include dense vegetation which makes it tough to get around, small, nimble and often arboreal prey animals and a bewildering array of plants and fruit, including poisonous ones. Oxford archaeologist and one of the researchers Mike Petragl...

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