Washington, June 2 (ANI): Aquatic foods such as fish, crocodiles and turtles, which early humans began eating two million years ago, could have played an important role in the evolution of human brains, says new research.
In what is the first evidence of consistent amounts of aquatic foods in the human diet, an international team of researchers has discovered early stone tools and cut marked animal remains in northern Kenya.
"This site in Africa is the first evidence that early humans were eating an extremely broad diet," said Dr Andy Herries from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the only researcher from Australia to have worked with the team.
The researchers found evidence of the early humans eating both freshwater fish and land animals at the site in the northern Rift Valley of Kenya.
It is believed that small bodied early Homo would have scavenged the remains of these creatures, rather than hunting for them.
"This find is important because fish in particular has been associated with brain development and it is after this period that we see smaller-brained hominin species evolving into larger-brained Homo species- Homo erectus - the first hominin to leave Africa," said Herries, of the School of Medical Sciences.
"A broader diet as suggested by the site's archaeology may have been the catalyst for brain development and humanity's first footsteps out of Africa," he added.
Herries dated the archaeological remains using palaeomagnetism, a technique that identifies the fossilised direction of the Earth's magnetic field in sediments.
The work has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). (ANI)