Why did humans start eating meat?



It must have felt unnatural at first, to eat animal flesh. After all, we’re not so far removed from animals ourselves. Perhaps it even felt cannibalistic. There might not have been that much intellectual distinction between humans and other animals. When humans were pure vegetarians, they were living in harmony with the earth and with the other creatures co-habiting the planet with them. Their closest animal relatives, apes, were vegetarians. Eating the products of the earth, like plants, grains and fruits that they could gather and eat would have seemed the natural order of things.

But necessity is the mother of invention. Prehistoric men who lived in frozen geographies, or who lived in an area that became devastated by fire, would have eaten anything to survive. Just like the soccer players whose plane crashed in the mountains of Chile, and were forced to eat the flesh of other players who died in the crash, earliest man at some point had to make the choice for survival, and that could have consuming meat for the first time and changing human history – and health – forever.

We can imagine that men first ate meat that had been charred or cooked by virtue of being caught in a natural forest fire. They might have subsequently eaten raw meat, if necessary, but we can also imagine that our earliest digestive systems rebelled against eating raw meat.

Imagine having eaten raw foods and vegetables for eons, and all of a sudden, incorporating meat products into your system. You may have heard friends who were vegetarians tell stories of trying to eat meat and becoming violently ill afterwards.

Biologists will tell you we’re really not designed to eat meat, but we adapted to it. However, in the timeline of human history, eating meat is a relatively recent evolutionary development.