Max Planck Institute
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Dept. of Human Evolution
Meeting Schedule
Department of Human Evolution - Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

The Evolution of Hominid Diets:
Integrating approaches to the study of Palaeolithic subsistence.

A symposium at the Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for
Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig Germany, May 17th to 21st 2006.

May 17-21, 2006
Leipzig, Germany


The study of hominid diets, and especially how they have evolved throughout time, has long been a core research area in a number of fields. Much of the research, however, has been undertaken by specialists with relatively little interaction with other researchers in other fields. This is unfortunate, as recently it appears that different lines of evidence are reaching similar conclusions about the major issues of hominid dietary evolution (i.e. the recognition of the important role of meat eating in brain evolution in early Homo, as well as the subsistence strategies of Neanderthals). However, multidisciplinary, or integrated, approaches to the study of hominid diets remain rare.

This workshop aims to bring together researchers who may not normally meet, as they work in different regions, time periods and with different analytical tools, to address three main issues of dietary evolution:

  1. Meat eating: when did it start and how did it intensify?
  2. Hunting vs. scavenging, and hunting technologies: What is the first evidence of hunting, and how did it develop over time?
  3. Resource intensification: When did this first occur, and how do the species chosen for intensification differ over time and between regions. (i.e. use of marine/aquatic resources, small mammals)

The goal of the conference is to explore if there is a consensus between the different methods which allows us to better understand the nature of hominid dietary strategies through time.

Participants will be asked to present a review of the research in their specific area, as well as new results where possible, keeping in mind the three key issues outlined above.

The specific sessions of the workshop are:

  1. Modern studies (primates, modern humans)
  2. Faunal studies
  3. Archaeological studies (including lithics, landscape use)
  4. Physical anthropology
  5. Isotopic studies
  Organised by J.J. Hublin and M.P. Richards.