Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Vegetarian Dietary Hypothesis

Proposal by R. Wrangham and G. Laden that about 1.9 mya early hominids cooked and consumed vegetables, increasing the available dietary calories. As a consequence, they suggest that this behavior resulted in a decrease in the size of jaws and teeth, that females increased in size relative to males, and that, because cooking created a delay between harvesting and processing, theft became more likely. This possibility promoted cooperative alliances between males and females, ‘to prevent males from stealing food from female’.

Cf. Australopithecus garhi dietary hypothesis.

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