Thats great, any truth in it though?
Thats great, any truth in it though?
Remarkably wrong eh? Do you want to supply some citations? Here are some that support the claim I made
105,000 kya in Africa - Mercader et al 2009 (Science, not the magazine, the peer edited super high impact factor journal)
15,000 kya in Jordan- Kuijt and Finlayson 2009 (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, another big deal) This one is large scale storage of gathered grains several thousands years before pottery in this region. Evidence of fermentation? There are plenty of sites in the region with evidence of gathered grains that go back 17kya- and thats at a waterlogged site with remarkable preservation.
HArdy 2011, Fiorenza 2011 and a host of others showing Neandertal plant consumption from dental wear (incl. grains, seeds, and nuts)
Not to mention the well documented massive consumption of marshelder, maygrass, sumpweed, amaranth, and a dozen others gathered my North American groups before corn and potatoes rolled in. How about the entire North-eastern Mid Archaic where we find huge deposits of burnt shells? Ive excavated some of those myself.
So I fail to see where im "remarkably false". There isnt evidence of grain fermentation until much later, and thats a hotly debated issue. And plants were a small percentage of the diets? Again, where and when do you mean? Different times and different places people ate different things. Is this based on your careful read of zooarchaeological and paleobotanical site reports? If so I would love to see that article in press.
Ill add lastly that the Price book is a very good resource, but was written by contemporary observations of diets in the early 1900s or something like that. Its far from a "pristine" reflection of what pre-European contact diets were, nor does it represent the last 100 years of archaeological research.
Last edited by Archaeosteve; 08-16-2012 at 06:41 AM.
Archaeology sounds great, almost as cool as anthropology; or more specifically primatology.
You'll have some reading to do, but it is well worth it.Our analysis showed that whenever and wherever it was ecologically possible, hunter-gatherers consumed high amounts (45-65% of energy) of animal food. Most (73%) of the worldwide hunter-gatherer societies derived >50% (> or =56-65% of energy) of their subsistence from animal foods, whereas only 14% of these societies derived >50% (> or =56-65% of energy) of their subsistence from gathered plant foods. This high reliance on animal-based foods coupled with the relatively low carbohydrate content of wild plant foods produces universally characteristic macronutrient consumption ratios in which protein is elevated (19-35% of energy) at the expense of carbohydrates (22-40% of energy).
If I misinterpreted your inference, my apologies. Either way, pre-agricultural people did not consume LOTS of grains and legumes. In fact, as previously mentioned, as much as 70% and more of their caloric intake was animal food. Over time, communities practised fermentation intentionally. Prior to this, grains and legumes when sourced were fermented via natural means and through the process of storing when gatherers collected enough to require storage.
Yep, most of the literature from Weston A Price is well worth reading. And the aforementioned provides a contemporary evaluation of modern-primitive diets and the physiological benefits. In fact, it is precisely a first hand account of pre-western influenced dietary customs of primitive peoples. And actually provides a more in depth evaluation of said diets and resulting human physiology than any other means since, including 100 years of archaeology, or even primatology. And is enhanced by the comparisons to affected primitive diets, and of course our modern western diets.
Archaeology is a branch of Anthropology in the United States academy. So technically my degrees are in Anthropological Science. Primatology is the study of NON-human primates, but for historical reasons is considered anthropology as well. I dont see what your point is there.
Ill say first of all that when I said "a lot" in colloquial terms on a forum, I was not implying specific quantities nor was I suggesting plant foods regularly composed >50%. I was merely saying that they were included, to different degrees, in the diets of many ancient peoples. Part of the problem is absence of evidence because plant foods do not preserve any where near as well as animal bones. Its only been in the last 10 years that significant paleobotanical work has shown that plants were major staples for a number of groups who were previously thought to not consume them at all. Plant foods and grains were important for a lot of people is all im saying, not that they were the MOST important resource for pre-agricultural populations. Although, the fact that large scale agriculture came about at all attests to a pretty major investment in harvesting and cultivating wild resources for thousands of years.
Im familiar with a chunk of that lit, a lot of which deals with recent hunter gatherers. A good amount more is derived from data on recent hunter gatherers. Now there are two problems here- The first is that those people are not ancient people and do not follow the same diets followed by ancient people. Looking at contemporary forager diets only tells you about contemporary forager diets. These are groups that live in borderline marginal ecozones, having been pushed there by the expansion of farming and pastoralism over the last several thousand years. We can not expect that their diets are representative of most people in prehistory. There are some minor issues with caloric studies that time-average, and we can get into that too if youd like.
Some of the other literature is just plain old, theres new data which I cited. A
Some of it is legitimate and shows that yes animal protein was very important. I am not saying that isnt true. Most of the discussion has, and will continue to be, on animal foods because faunal remains are so much more abundant in the record than plant remains. As our recovery methods get better, we are finding more and more plant food evidence- again a trend thats only 10-15 years old.
Fermentation is still relatively recent as far as we can prove, and not a universal. Storage is a whole other issue, and most hunter-gatherers today dont store anything, or very very little for short periods of time. Theres not much evidence of grain before 15 thousand years ago really, and when we are talking about highly mobile hunter-gatherers thats not surprising. Is it possible they were fermenting as they went in hide bags? Sure its possible, but we have no evidence of any of this. The first real evidence of grain fermentation, that I know of (and granted we are outside my region and time period here) is 6-7 kya on the high end in the near east?
Back to the book, if we are talking about people in contact with Europeans for hundreds of years, then we are not talking about prehistoric people. Diets changed so fast at European contact world wide for several reasons, they are certainly not the same as ancient diets, which themselves werent the same for thousands of years prior. It is a historical account. I would also ask that we not refer to people as "primitive", especially when we are talking about the recent populations interviewed by Price or anyone else.
So ill summarize my points one last time- Ethnographic populations are under different pressures and are not the equivalent of ancient peoples who did the same things and ate the same things. Many of your references use that premise to make their case. Books, especially popular literature and reviews, written before like 1990 or even 2000 in many cases were written before the true emergence of paleoethnobotany, and so were before we knew anything about ancient plant foods. Published papers about people eating animals are reports on research of animal bones, they are not evidence that people werent eating plants. Plants, in very few cases, were likely a majority of year-round subsistence for any Pliestocene-Holocene human group, but almost every human group who had access to them certainly ate them regularly. It may not have been a huge caloric surplus, but it was an important aspect of the diet for at least 100,000 years. And probably prior to that too before we were real predators.
Research in primatology produces invaluable insight in to the relationship between human and non-human primates, and with regards to this topic digestive systems, genome and dietary habits. Furthermore, the study of the human and non-human primate genome and musculoskeletal properties provide further insight in to diet and habitat.
Do you agree that grains and legumes - not explicitly plant foods as fruit and other vegetables are not considered here - make up a very small percentage of pre-agricultural peoples caloric intake? Because, to be frank, that is all I cared to elucidate. And the research documented in my previous post - despite your unfounded disregarded for them - as well as many more I can link for you, establish this fact.
We could, though I lack the time, discuss the evolution of dietary practises through different epochs, and seasonal and availability variables but it's quite frankly irrelevant to the correction I initially made. On that note, I never, and nor do the studies and research I am familiar with, posited that plant foods were not part of pre-agricultural diets, they were however minimal. And when animal food sources were abundant, composed even less of the typical diet.
Also, despite the abundance of fauna remnants as opposed to flora, there are other fields of research that indicate my position as being established fact.
Fermentation, though not as well established as the dominant dietary source, is nevertheless supported by scientific research. Somewhat irrelevant to the correction I made, despite my mention of it.
Dr Price studied communities that previously had zero contact with western civilization. And my recommendation to the OP was not based on prehistoric people, but his request for details on "modern day diets across different cultures. " To which the works of Dr Price most certainly meet. Primitive diets might be a better term in a comparative sense. Nevertheless, it's irrelevance to my initial correction has no bearing on it being a fact.
I assume your last paragraph is another attempt to discredit the research that is still considered by the scientific community today, and confirmed - not disproved - through peer review. Nevertheless, nobody is trying to say these cultures were NOT eating plant foods at all, only that they were a small percentage and not a preferred food source for primitive peoples and modern primitive diets.
In conclusion, everything I have sourced proves my correction of your false statement, and nothing you have responded with changes this fact. If by LOTS you mean (grains and legumes comprise) significantly less than animal food sources and compose a very small portion of pre-agricultural caloric intake, than I would be wrong - and I apologize.