How They Survived
Ardipithecus ramidus individuals were most likely omnivores, which means they enjoyed more generalized diet of both plants, meat, and fruit. Ar. ramidus did not seem to eat hard, abrasive foods like nuts and tubers.
How do we know they were omnivores?
The enamel on Ar. ramidus teeth remains show it was neither very thick nor very thin. If the enamel was thick, it would mean Ar. ramidus ate tough, abrasive foods. If the enamel was thin, this would suggest Ar. ramidus ate softer foods such as fruit. Instead, A. ramidus has an enamel thickness between a chimpanzee’s and later Australopithecus or Homo species, suggesting a mixed diet. However, the wear pattern and incisor sizes indicate Ar. ramidus was not a specialized frugivore ( fruit-eater). Ar. ramidus probably also avoided tough foods, as they did not have the heavy chewing specializations of later Australopithecus species.
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Human Origins Program: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/ardipithecus-ramidus
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