Current Hunter-Gatherer Diets
The diet composition of hunter-gatherer populations continues to be implicated in the reconstruction of dietary models and social behavior of early members of the genus Homo. Diet has been linked to the evolution of the enlarging hominin brain, the sexual division of labor, routine food sharing, cooperative breeding, and family formation. Despite this significance, few quantitative studies are available; the cross-cultural data used for many of the reconstructions remains anecdotal and was not collected systematically across populations. Here, I report data on the diet composition and foraging profiles of the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania. Hadza plant foods were analyzed to determine the energy values (kilocalories), content of fat (lipid), crude protein (CP), free simple sugars (FSS), fiber (neutral-detergent fiber - NDF), total non-structural carbohydrates (TNC), and ash. The significance of meat, tubers, and honey is addressed and the role that these food items play in evolutionary models is explored.