For a century, man has become accustomed to the idea that he has evolved. It is said that “the man comes down from the monkey”. But as this natural neighborhood with the monkeys does not suit us half, we invent beautiful stories of evolution, from the vegetarian monkey to the hunter, through Lucy Australopithecus.
In 1976, this linear vision of hominization is defeated by the paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey who demonstrates that several species of our recent cousins and ancestors, paranthropists and early humans, coexisted in the wooded savannahs of Lake Turkana in Kenya. two million years ago.
And the meat, in this case? Who eats it, and what is the diet of these contemporary hominids? Paranthropes remain very vegetarian, but this does not prevent them from feeding also small prey such as antelopes.
As for men, they still consume a lot of vegetable foods, but are more and more interested in meat, at first simple scavengers then true hunters. Meat takes a larger part of the diet and ultimately contributes to the survival of our lineage.
For around 1 million years, all hominids still very vegetarian disappear, but not homo erectus, more carnivorous. Then comes Homo sapiens, our closest ancestor. He invents cooking and domesticating animals – sheep as early as 9,500 BC and cattle around 8,000 BC – thus heralding a new era in human-animal relationships.