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Stone Age Diet Changed Quickly, Scientists Say

September 27, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Stone Age man swapped a diet of fish for meat and vegetables as soon as the opportunity arose, according to scientists at England's Bradford University.

"In Britain, it happened very quickly, in a generation or two," said team leader Michael Richards.

Richards' team, which published its results in the current issue of Nature, studied dietary change during the Neolithic period between 5,200 and 4,500 years ago. They used carbon isotopes to assess how the rate of change coincided with the emergence of a domesticated lifestyle from one based purely on opportunistic hunting.

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