The animals early man was forced to eat to fight off hunger in Asian rainforestFebruary 20, 2019
Early man’s diet was a case of monkey see, monkey chew.
Researchers found we were butchering and roasting the primates at least 45,000 years ago.
Humans colonised the South Asian rainforest by eating them and treats like squirrels.
The revelation from remains and tools found at Sri Lanka’s oldest archaeological site, in Yatagampitiya, is the first direct proof early man hunted primates and other small mammals.
A team led by Oshan Wedage at the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany, measured some 15,000 bone fragments.
He said: “The results demonstrate specialised hunting of arboreal monkey and squirrel populations.
“These included fragments that show people were butchering these animals.” The study found monkey bones were also used to make hunting weapons to catch more – and only adults were targeted to ensure a stable supply.
Prof Michael Petraglia added: “This ‘monkey menu’ was not a one-off and the use of these difficult-to-catch resources [shows] the behavioural and technological flexibility of Homo sapiens.”
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