Whether people with diabetes need bigger brains that other people is something that science hasn’t studied yet. But some scientists who have studied our early ancestors have just discovered that we got our big brains originally from a diet that came in large part from fish and other aquatic animals.
Until now, most of the scientists who study our early ancestors assumed that they lived on the plains of East Africa. This “savannah theory” seemed to point at a diet of roots, seeds and nuts, some green plants and the occasional small game — the hunter-gatherer hypothesis. This is pretty far from the oceans where fish live.
But fish also live in lakes and streams. And now we know that some of our earliest ancestors about 1.95 million years ago lived around such a wet environment. Archeologists working in northern Kenya found that our ancestors ate a lot of fish, turtles, and crocodiles. By analyzing the bones of the animals and the stone tools that our ancestors made the scientists showed that in fact we descend from a long line of fish-eaters.
Yesterday This Fisherman Caught a Smallmouth Bass — Our Ancestors Caught Prehistoric Bass
The connection between fish and brains is omega-3 oils, which make up about 60 percent of the fatty acids in our brains. And about 2 million years ago our ancestors first developed the big brains that humans have.
We didn’t get their big brains from plants, because our bodies are inefficient in converting plant-based omega-3 into the long-chain omega-3 that our brains need. Only fish, shellfish, algae, and those animals that feed largely on aquatic sources have a lot of omega-3 that our brains can use.
Our mothers told us that fish was brain food. And now we know that they were right in this as in so many other things.
This is a mirror of one of my articles that was originally published on Health Central.