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Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University

This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.

 

They Were What They Ate: Study Reveals Pre-Human Relatives Ate Only Forest Foods

You are what you eat, and that seems to have been as true two million years ago, when our pre-human relatives were swinging through the trees and racing across the savannas of South Africa, as it is today. A study done by a team that included Johns Hopkins University geochemist Benjamin Passey and published in today’s issue of the journal Nature reveals that Australopithecus sediba, an ape-like creature with human features living in a region about 50 miles northwest of today‚Äôs Johannesburg, exclusively consumed fruits, leaves and other forest-based foods, even though its habitat was near grassy savanna with its rich variety of savory sedges, tasty tubers and even juicy animals.

Early Human Habitat Was Savanna, Not Forest

Pre-humans living in East Africa 4.4 million years ago inhabited savannas — grassy plains dotted with trees and shrubs — according to a team of researchers that includes earth scientist Naomi Levin of The Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Levin’s team published a commentary on this topic in the May 27 issue of the journal Science.