Genomic Basis for Dietary Shifts During Human Origins
As our australopithecine ancestors moved out of receding rain forests and into drier habitats, they abandoned a primarily fruit-based diet and began consuming more meat and tubers. This increase in consumption protein, fat, and starch coincided in time with important evolutionary changes in cognition and brain size. Genetic and genomic methods are providing insights into the relationship between these two parallel sets of adaptations. Several genes have now been identified that may have mediated a link between changes in diet and changes in behavior during human origins.