The Japan Times, January 16, 1999
Human forebears nibbled meat
WASHINGTON (AP) The ancestors of humans were more than tree-climbing plant-eaters, according to a new study. The apelike creatures millions of years ago probably also caught and ate small animals - even before the invention of stone tools.
Researchers who studied tooth enamel from the fossilized remains of hominids called Australopithecus africanus found the chemical signature of foods that grew on the open plains of South Africa, as well as in the forest.
This means that "africanus was not just a tree dweller," said Matt Sponheimer, a researcher at Rutgers University.
"Our study shows that this early human ancestor found its food both in the forest and in the open areas," said Sponheimer, coauthor of a study published Friday in the journal Science.