We had large premolars that we used to chew harder foods like large seeds. We had larger jaws and teeth to accommodate the many different kinds of uncooked plants we were consuming. They weren't easy to eat in their natural raw state.
Hominids, a primate of a family that includes humans and our "fossil ancestors" and at least some of the great apes, became people by developing fire. "People" is described as having traits such as large brains and dainty jaws. We made this move from to being hominids to being homo erectus by using fire for a variety of reasons.
Homo erectus appeared about 2 million years and were known to use fire 1.8 million years ago.
The folks in this diorama are homo erectus and they are the earliest species known to have controlled fire, about 600,000 years ago. This means they used it purposefully to cook, stay warm, as a weapon and to continue their activity into the night.
These expanded activities were important. Because homo erectus could not protect themselves, they could sleep on the ground instead of in trees which advanced their ability to use their legs for walking (bipedalism). They could live in colder climates and migrate widely. They could preserve food to help them through the times when hunting was not possible. They used large fires to clear the land and make it easier to hunt. Because they had "domesticated" fire, they had greater control over their environment.
Brains need a high level of metabolism and eating meat allowed primitive man to have an unlimited amount of protein to support the growing brain.
Eating certain meats binds groups of people together. Eating meat is also a sign of social status and wealth. The advertisers of Madison Avenue have caused us to associate meat eating with masculinity.
Eat a little, eat a lot, eat none. Your choice. Perhaps your umami sense is not as strong as your friends, so when they dive in, please don't start with a gruesome tale of how the cow met its end. Let them enjoy what they like. If they criticize you for being vegan, then it's on.
Do the best you can. TTFN, Claudia
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