Humans have long since begun to love carbohydrates
WEDNESDAY, 2021, May 2021 (HealthDay News) – Humans and their ancient ancestors have been eating carbs for longer than they realized, but new research has found that these starchy foods have actually been on the rise. human brain.
A study of the history of human oral microbiome found that Neanderthals and ancient humans adapted to eating starchy foods 100,000 years ago, much earlier than previously thought.
“We think we’re seeing evidence of behavior that could have been partial encephalization or growth of the human brain,” said researcher Christina Warinner, of Harvard University. “It is evidence of a new source of food that early humans took advantage of as roots, starchy vegetables and seeds.”
The oral microbiome is a community of microorganisms mouth. They help protect against disease and promote health.
The findings are part of a seven-year study that has involved the collaboration of more than 50 international scientists.
They reconstructed the oral microbiomes of Neanderthals, primates, and humans, including a 100,000-year-old Neanderthal, which is the oldest sequenced oral microbiome.
Scientists studied the fossilized dental plaque of modern humans and Neanderthals, and then compared chimpanzees and gorillas, the closest relatives of human primates and howling monkeys, to more distant relatives.
Billions DNA the preserved parts of the fossilized plate were genetically analyzed to reconstruct their genomes.
The researchers were surprised to find strains of oral bacteria specifically adapted to break down starch. These bacteria, of the genus Streptococcus, they have the ability to trap enzymes in man to digest starch saliva and feed themselves. The genetic machinery they use for this is active when starch is part of the normal diet.
Neanderthals and ancient humans had these starch-adapted strains on their tooth plates, but most primates had almost none.
“It seems to be a specific evolutionary trait of our human being Streptococcus he acquired the ability to do so, ”Warinner said in a Harvard news release.
The findings were released on May 10th Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers said the findings make sense because in hunter-gatherer societies around the world, foods rich in starch, such as underground roots, potatoes, nuts and seeds, were important and reliable sources of nutrition.
The human brain needs glucose as a food source and meat alone is not enough, Warinner said. Starch makes up about 60% of calories for humans around the world.
“Its usefulness is much more predictable for tropical hunter-gatherers during the year,” said research author Richard Wrangham, Ruth B. Moore, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard. “These new data make sense to me, as they reinforced a newer view of Neanderthals that the diets were similar to sapies than I thought, [meaning] rich and boiled starch “.
The study also identified 10 groups of bacteria that are more than 40 million years old and currently shared in the oral microbiome of humans and primates. We know quite a bit about them.
The oral microbiome of Neanderthals and modern humans were almost indistinguishable. Research touches on the ability to study tiny microbes that live in the human body.
“It shows that our microbiome encodes valuable information about our evolution, which in turn gives us advice on things that leave no trace,” Warinner said.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has more ancient tools and food.
SOURCE: Harvard University, news, May 10, 2021