The Evolution of Hominid Diets:
Integrating approaches to the study of Palaeolithic
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
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:
- Meat eating: when did it start and how did it intensify?
- Hunting vs. scavenging, and hunting technologies: What is the first evidence of
hunting, and how did it develop over time?
- 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
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:
- Modern studies (primates, modern humans)
- Faunal studies
- Archaeological studies (including lithics, landscape use)
- Physical anthropology
- Isotopic studies