Isotopic Evidence for Dietary Variability in the Early Hominin Paranthropus robustus

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Science  10 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5801, pp. 980-982
DOI: 10.1126/science.1133827

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Traditional methods of dietary reconstruction do not allow the investigation of dietary variability within the lifetimes of individual hominins. However, laser ablation stable isotope analysis reveals that the δ13C values of Paranthropus robustus individuals often changed seasonally and interannually. These data suggest that Paranthropus was not a dietary specialist and that by about 1.8 million years ago, savanna-based foods such as grasses or sedges or animals eating these foods made up an important but highly variable part of its diet.

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