Fishing for iodine: what aquatic foraging by bonobos tells us about human evolution
Expansion of brain tissue and development of advanced cognitive skills are characteristic traits of human evolution. Their emergence has been causally linked to the intake of nutrients that promote brain development and iodine is considered a critical resource. Rich sources of iodine exist in coastal areas and evolutionary scenarios associate the progressive development of brain size and cognitive skills to such landscapes. This raises the question of how early hominins living in continental areas could have met their iodine requirements. One way to explore this question is to use information from hominoid primates as a proxy for the nutritional ecology of early hominins. Bonobos are particularly interesting in this context as they are restricted to the central part of the Congo basin, an area considered to be iodine deficient based on human standards.