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Amanda G. HENRY

Plant Foods in Hominin Dietary Ecology Research Group | Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Presentation: "Neanderthal Cooking and the Costs of Fire"

Amanda Henry is the leader of the independent research group: “Plant foods in hominin dietary ecology”, which aims to study the role that plant foods may have played at several points during human evolution. Her dissertation studies used plant microfossils as markers of plant use at the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition as a means of examining ecological hypotheses to explain the disappearance of the Neanderthals. Her current research seeks to use a variety of different methods to touch on several topics, including:

  • Was the consumption of plant underground storage organs a common behavior among the robust australopiths, in contrast to the gracile australopiths?
  • Did early Homo erectus cook plant foods, and could this have been a factor in the reorganization of their body plan, and perhaps also their social structure?
  • Is it possible to determine if a sexual division of labor existed within Middle and Upper Paleolithic hominin groups?