The Max Planck Research Group on Plant Foods in Hominin Dietary Ecology seeks to explore some of the complex relationships between the biology and behavior of humans, and the plant foods they consumed. Plants are known to be important components of modern forager diets, and the inclusion of plant foods and the development of processing technologies has been implicated in grade shifts within the hominin lineage. However, there is to date very little direct information on the plant foods our ancestors and relatives consumed. Knowing more about plant foods throughout hominin evolution allows us to better understand our relationship with the environment, and helps us to develop better-informed models of hominin behavioral ecology.
Our research falls into three broad categories:
- Reconstructing diets of individuals and groups
- Establishing costs and benefits of consuming plant foods
- Improving methods for studying ancient use of plants
We are located within the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and are closely affiliated with the Department of Human Evolution.