We’ve come a long ways in snacking technology since our early ancestor, but snacking even played a role in the first humans lives. In fact, some scientists believe that early human snacking was what differentiated humans from similar bipedal (walk on two legs) hominids.

Let me explain—a species similar to humans known as paranthropus lived at the same time as early humans. This species is believed to have had a very strict diet, so after a particularly dry spell in Africa, the plants this creature normally ate died away. As soon as the plants disappeared, so did paranthropus.1

While the paranthropus was looking for a particular type of plant to eat, modern humans were able to adapt. We ate nuts, meat, a variety of plants, and whatever else we could shove in our pie holes.1

A more recent paper in The Journal of Human Evolution found that 12,000 years ago humans regularly snacked on other humans. These scientists found human gnaw marks on ancient bones2… I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t back that snack.

1.     Cerling et. al. Diet of Paranthropus boisei in the early Pleistocene of East Africa; PNAS 2011; published ahead of print May 2, 2011.

2.    Fernández-Jalvoa, Cáceresd, Rosell. Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 37, Issues 3–4. September 1999. Pages 591–622

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    June 2012