2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

Meat-Eating and Human Ancestry


Anthony M. Scimeca
Amber Johnson , Faculty Mentor

Humans produce and consume millions of tons of meat products every year, and we devote over fifty percent of Earth’s arable land to livestock. Certainly, there is a social pressure for obtaining meat, but perhaps there is an underlying biological impetus that reinforces social norms. The aim of this paper is to analyze the relationship between human evolution and the consumption of meat, based on the archaeological and paleontological records and existing research on the subject. Special attention is given to encephalization, the development of tool use, and animal-based food procurement strategies, such as scavenging, hunting, and cooking. An emergent pattern of increased meat consumption, increased body and brain size, and greater complexity of tool manufacture and use is observed as the primary findings of this paper. These findings are discussed in regards to human evolution, sociocultural development, and modern impacts of continued production and consumption of animal-based foods.

Keywords: human evolution, meat consumption, tool manufacture, encephalization, meat procurement methods, meat preparation methods

Topic(s):Anthropology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 102-4
Location: BH 114
Time: 9:15

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