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Impact of meat and Lower Palaeolithic food processing techniques on chewing in humans

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, March 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Citations

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Title
Impact of meat and Lower Palaeolithic food processing techniques on chewing in humans
Published in
Nature, March 2016
DOI 10.1038/nature16990
Pubmed ID
Authors

Katherine D. Zink, Daniel E. Lieberman

Abstract

The origins of the genus Homo are murky, but by H. erectus, bigger brains and bodies had evolved that, along with larger foraging ranges, would have increased the daily energetic requirements of hominins. Yet H. erectus differs from earlier hominins in having relatively smaller teeth, reduced chewing muscles, weaker maximum bite force capabilities, and a relatively smaller gut. This paradoxical combination of increased energy demands along with decreased masticatory and digestive capacities is hypothesized to have been made possible by adding meat to the diet, by mechanically processing food using stone tools, or by cooking. Cooking, however, was apparently uncommon until 500,000 years ago, and the effects of carnivory and Palaeolithic processing techniques on mastication are unknown. Here we report experiments that tested how Lower Palaeolithic processing technologies affect chewing force production and efficacy in humans consuming meat and underground storage organs (USOs). We find that if meat comprised one-third of the diet, the number of chewing cycles per year would have declined by nearly 2 million (a 13% reduction) and total masticatory force required would have declined by 15%. Furthermore, by simply slicing meat and pounding USOs, hominins would have improved their ability to chew meat into smaller particles by 41%, reduced the number of chews per year by another 5%, and decreased masticatory force requirements by an additional 12%. Although cooking has important benefits, it appears that selection for smaller masticatory features in Homo would have been initially made possible by the combination of using stone tools and eating meat.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 481 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 296 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 6 2%
Germany 2 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Ireland 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
Belgium 1 <1%
Estonia 1 <1%
Portugal 1 <1%
Other 0 0%
Unknown 281 95%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 60 20%
Student > Ph. D. Student 50 17%
Researcher 46 16%
Student > Master 37 13%
Other 20 7%
Other 62 21%
Unknown 21 7%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 79 27%
Arts and Humanities 37 13%
Medicine and Dentistry 27 9%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 24 8%
Social Sciences 23 8%
Other 69 23%
Unknown 37 13%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1871. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 23 February 2021.
All research outputs
#2,347
of 17,177,772 outputs
Outputs from Nature
#318
of 79,234 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#37
of 271,346 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Nature
#5
of 998 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,177,772 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 79,234 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 88.7. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 271,346 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 998 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.