“Nutcracker Man” ate grass

Published on May 3rd, 2011 | by Admin


New studies have shown that the ancient hominid Paranthropus boisei, better known as Nutcracker Man, preferred to eat grass.

Professor Matt Sponheimer said it was long assumed Paranthropus boisei favoured nuts, seeds and hard fruit because of its powerful jaw muscles and the biggest and flattest molars of any known hominid in the anthropological record.

However, he said in recent years study of the wear marks of teeth from Nutcracker Man by other research teams has indicated it was likely eating items like soft fruit and grasses.

That evidence, combined with the new study that measured the carbon isotopes embedded in fossil teeth to infer diet, indicates the rugged jaw and large, flat tooth structure may have been just the ticket for Nutcracker Man to mow down and swallow huge amounts of grasses or sedges at a single sitting.

[Full story]

Story: Daily Mail | Photo: Reuters

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