Get access

Diet of upper paleolithic modern humans: Evidence from microwear texture analysis

Authors

  • Sireen El Zaatari,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig D-04103, Germany
    2. Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, Paleoanthropology, Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoecology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jean-Jacques Hublin

    1. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig D-04103, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author

ABSTRACT

This article presents the results of the occlusal molar microwear texture analysis of 32 adult Upper Paleolithic modern humans from a total of 21 European sites dating to marine isotope stages 3 and 2. The occlusal molar microwear textures of these specimens were analyzed with the aim of examining the effects of the climatic, as well as the cultural, changes on the diets of the Upper Paleolithic modern humans. The results of this analysis do not reveal any environmentally driven dietary shifts for the Upper Paleolithic hominins indicating that the climatic and their associated paleoecological changes did not force these humans to significantly alter their diets in order to survive. However, the microwear texture analysis does detect culturally related changes in the Upper Paleolithic humans' diets. Specifically, significant differences in diet were found between the earlier Upper Paleolithic individuals, i.e., those belonging to the Aurignacian and Gravettian contexts, and the later Magdalenian ones, such that the diet of the latter group was more varied and included more abrasive foods compared with those of the former. Am J Phys Anthropol 153:570–581, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary