Originally Posted by Mike Romano
interesting study design....they said that our meat intake was high as Homo sapiens until 10,000 years ago, and then designed the study based on diets of species from which we already diverged. Also, dietary information about chimps, our closest living relative, was omitted, probably because they consume A LOT of meat!
Our meat intake was higher during our recent history as hunter-gatherers but it wasn't as high as people like to think and I agree that the study would have been slightly more relevant had they modeled the simian diet on that of chimpanzees but the results were pretty impressive considering it was only a two week long study. As for chimps consuming a lot of meat.......
Chimpanzee Predatory Behavior
After three decades of research on the hunting behavior of chimpanzees at Gombe, we already know a great deal about their predatory patterns. We know that although chimpanzees have been recorded to eat more than 35 types of vertebrate animals (Uehara 1997), the most important vertebrate prey species in their diet is the red colobus monkey. At Gombe, red colobus account for more than 80% of the prey items eaten. But Gombe chimpanzees do not select the colobus they will kill randomly; infant and juvenile colobus are caught in greater proportion than their availability (Stanford et al. 1994a, 1998a); 75% of all colobus killed are immature. Chimpanzees are largely fruit eaters, and meat composes only about 3% of the time they spent eating overall, less than in nearly all human societies. Adult and adolescent males do most of the hunting, making about 90% of the kills recorded at Gombe over the past decade. Females also hunt, though more often they receive a share of meat from the male who either captured the meat or stole it from the captor. Although lone chimpanzees, both male and female, sometimes hunt by themselves, most hunts are social. In other species of hunting animals, cooperation among hunters may lead to greater success rates, thus promoting the evolution of cooperative behavior. Such cooperation has also been posited as important in our own evolution (Washburn and Lancaster 1968). In both Gombe and in the Tai forest in the Ivory Coast, there is a strong positive relationship between the number of hunters and the odds of a successful hunt (Boesch and Boesch 1989; Stanford et al. 1994b). At Tai, Christophe Boesch has documented highly cooperative hunting behavior by the chimpanzees there, and meat-sharing behavior after a kill that rewards those chimps who participated in the hunt.
One of the main recent findings about hunting by chimpanzees was its seasonality (Stanford et al. 1994a). At Gombe, nearly 40 % of the kills of colobus monkeys occur in the dry season months of August and September. This is apparently a time of food shortage in the forest, since the chimpanzees' body weights do decline (Wrangham 1975). This is actually less strongly seasonal than in the Mahale Mountains, where 60% of kills occur in a 2 month period in the early wet season. Why would chimpanzees hunt more often in some months than in others ? This is an important question, because studies of early hominid diets have shown that meat-eating occurred most often in the dry season, at the same time that meat-eating peaks among Gombe chimpanzees (Speth 1989). And the amount of meat eaten, even though it composed a small percentage of the chimpanzee diet, is substantial. I estimate that in some years, the 45 chimpanzees of the main study community at Gombe kill and consume more than 1500 pounds of prey animals of all species. This is far more than most previous estimates of the weight of live animals eaten by chimpanzees. A large proportion of this amount is eaten in the dry season months of August and September. In fact, during the peak dry season months, the estimated per capita meat intake is about 65 grams of meat per day for each adult chimpanzee. This approaches the meat intake by the members of some human foraging societies in the lean months of the year. Chimpanzee dietary strategies may thus approximate those of human hunter-gatherers to a greater degree than we had imagined.
So with an adult male chimp being up to 5'6 tall and weighing as much as 70kg (154 lb) (source: wikipedia) and assuming that the meat would have been very lean so maybe 30% protein by weight that 65grams of meat per day would work out at about 19.5g of protein per day or 0.35g/kg/d* for an adult chimp which isn't a lot really.
*Would somebody please check if thats right because I really suck at math. Thank you.
Depends why it's low I guess. I mean poverty and malnutrtion generally correlate with cardiovascular disease but the Tarahumara's traditional diet back in '73-4 was described as being "generally of high nutritional quality" so I don't think that's relevant.