An observant Christian reader sends this story from the BBC about new scientific discoveries shedding light on the way early humans lived. Excerpt:
A new analysis of early human teeth from extinct fossils has found that they expanded their diets about 3.5 million years ago to include grasses and possibly animals.
Before this, humanlike creatures – or hominins – ate a forest-based diet similar to modern gorillas and chimps.
Researchers analysed fossilised tooth enamel of 11 species of hominins and other primates found in East Africa.
The findings appear in four papers published in PNAS journal.
Like chimpanzees today, many of our early human ancestors lived in forests and ate a diet of leaves and fruits from trees, shrubs and herbs.
But scientists have now found that this changed 3.5 million years ago in the species Australopithecus afarensis and Kenyanthropus platyops.
Their diet included grasses, sedges, and possibly animals that ate such plants. They also tended to live in the open savannahs of Africa.
The story goes on to say that scientists do not know why these hominins left the forest and changed their diet. They do know that other ancestors of ape species today did not do that. The reader who sent this draws an interesting conclusion:
So the earliest humans ate fruit from trees and herbs in a forested area, but suddenly they left this paradisical area for unknown reasons and began eating grasses and meat. Now, what story does that sound exactly like?
How did the writer(s) of Genesis know what anthropology is now telling scientists? Was there an oral history passed down through millions of years, or was there a flourishing of advanced science around that time that reached the same conclusions? I am certainly not discounting revelation, but revelation seldom takes the form of a memo from the sky.
That’s an interesting and provocative thought. Discuss.