• Meat made us human

    I know that in some circles it’s cool to portray yourself as a morally superior being who has given up on meat — I already debunked this fashion, but data keeps on coming, and veg myths keep falling like dominoes.

    One of the worst is that which claims humans have always been vegans and never needed meat. Now, I know not every veg person agrees with this, but the more extremist ones hold such a viewpoint. Turns out, science has bad news for them:

    As a new study in Nature makes clear, not only did processing and eating meat come naturally to humans, it’s entirely possible that without an early diet that included generous amounts of animal protein, we wouldn’t even have become human—at least not the modern, verbal, intelligent humans we are.

    It was about 2.6 million years ago that meat first became a significant part of the pre-human diet, and if Australopithecus had had a forehead to slap it would surely have done so. Being an herbivore was easy—fruits and vegetables don’t run away, after all. But they’re also not terribly calorie-dense.


    Prey that has been killed and then prepared either by slicing, pounding or flaking provides a much more calorie-rich meal with much less chewing than root foods do, boosting nutrient levels overall. (Cooking, which would have made things easier still, did not come into vogue until 500,000 years ago.)

    By the way, cooking also played a role in human evolution.

    All of this is something we already knew: the evidence suggests that the evolutionary ancestors of humans were carnivorous and that the vegetarian diet claimed the existence of the Paranthropus, while an omnivorous diet allowed the Homo to outlive their cousins.

    Isn’t it funny that, just like creationists, some vegans exist today thanks to an evolutionary process they insist on denying?

    (via Richard Dawkins Foundation)

    Category: PhilosophySkepticism and Science


    Article by: Ðavid A. Osorio S

    Skeptic | Blogger | Fact-checker
    • Stefan

      Pretty hypothetical study. But the point you are obviously missing about veganism is that eating animal products is not necessary today and that what’s happening to the animals in meat and dairy production is far beyond tolerable.

      • Hi Stefan, pretty hypthetical, although it fits right in with what we already knew.

        I’m not missing it. It’s just not the scope of this post.

        I have addressed such issues before; we know the problem lies within the farming practices, not the eating habit. I’m all for more ‘humane’ farming practices; I’m not so for moral self righteousness, banning meat, and/or labeling eat-meaters with pejorative terms.

        • allan

          David, I think the evidence has been in for decades that we are omnivores and, more recently, processing/cooking was an important component in our evolution. It’s ridiculous to deny this established science. Nevertheless, as moral beings, we should minimise the harm we cause.Sam Harris has done a couple of podcasts on this. I try to keep my own intake of animal products to a minimum. I’ve been doing it for 45 years and, so far, I’m in good health. I expect that GMO (if science rather than woo prevails) will give us nutritionally complete plant foods that will (probably) supply everything a human needs, There’s also cell culture technologies. No real appeal for me but maybe they can provide the meat experience that many demand.

      • Clare45

        You don’t have to buy meat that comes from factory farms. Get it from the small local farmer who you know treats the animals well.

    • Carl

      Of course the question is “what did nature intend?” Many of the animals that humans eat are vegetarians. I mean who decided that the cow was a good thing to eat and why? The natural answer to me is that the cow is just standing in a field and easy to catch. Thats why lion meat isn’t very popular because when we tried to chase them we got eaten. Generally speaking most of the animals that humans eat don’t eat meat. I would be willing to bet that at least 80% of humans on this planet if they had to go out and chase down an animal even the easy ones to catch kill it cut it open and take the guts out of it skin it clean it etc they wouldn’t do it for so many reasons. Now a days thats all done for us we don’t have to see all the blood and guts that would make an average human throw up. There are so many big strong muscular animals that are vegetarians themselves. Like the elephant, rhino, buffalo, horse,Giraffe, wildebeest. They’re dangerous of course and will stomp on you or fling you around but they won’t eat you. Ten theres deer and rabbits which humans eat but are vegetarians. Then there are eggs.. Chicken eggs seem to me very un natural for humans to eat. It’s just gross to see that embryo floating around in there. Then milk. Nature makes it distinctly obvious that after we get through nursing our mothers that’s all the milk we need for the rest of our lives. We are all lactose intolerant just some bodies can put up with it better than others. Milk has a bone building substance in it called casein and cows milk has I’ve heard anywhere from 75% to 300% more casein in it than human milk. Cows milk is intended to build the bones of a quarter ton animal not a human. There are no drawings in the ancient caves that show humans under cows sucking udders. Then there’s cheese.. Are you kidding me? Cheese is simply putrified milk. Thats why it smells so bad. That bad smell is nature yelling at us saying don’t eat this. But of course people do eat it and it’s a very popular item. Then there’s calf brains and tongue and in some parts of the world people eat dog’s and rat’s. Eating is a function but has evolved into the entertainment business. The sign boards we see with “got milk?” are trying to sell us something we not only don’t need but isn’t natural for us to consume. The World Health Organization has deemed that processed meats — such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs — can cause cancer. There is plenty of protein in foods like beans/legumes, vegetables (especially broccoli, spinach, and other leafy greens), seeds and nuts, and whole grains like wild rice, quinoa, millet, spelt, wheat berries, oat groats and buckwheat groats. Some of these foods can be found as is in nature. Meat has to be highly processed in order to be eaten (skinned, scaled, deboned, disinfected and washed of blood, cooked, seasoned, cured, preserved etc). Dairy also has to go through processing and pastuerization to be safer and both of those still contain hormones and antibiotics that are harmful to humans. And how natural is it to take the secretions of an animal (eggs, milk) and use it for our own purposes? How natural is it to breed billlions of farm animals and keep those animals confined so we can use them for food? How natural is it to have to use guns and traps and packs of dogs to hunt animals? Fruits and seeds can simply be picked off a tree or plant and eaten as is. They are much easier for the human body to digest.