Teeth from two individuals were analysed in the latest research, focussing on patterns of dental wear, carbon isotope data and plant fragments from dental tartar.
The evidence suggests the ape-like creature ate leaves, fruit, bark, wood and other forest vegetation.
Dr Amanda Henry of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, led the research.
“We’ve for the first time been able to put together three quite different methods for reconstructing diet and gotten one cohesive picture of the diet of this ancient species and that picture is really quite different from what we’ve seen in other hominins (human ancestors),” she said.
Story: Helen Briggs, BBC News | Photo: Science Photo Library