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For 2 million years prehistoric humans were super predators and then all the easy prey went extinct, and we had to evolve to a new dietary paradigm: farming.       Source: anibal / Adobe Stock

The Super Predators That Killed Everything They Could. Humans


A team of scientists in Israel have made the news for having made the rather obvious discovery that humans “have been super-predators for 2 million years.” However, this is the dumbed down media take on a new study by these scientists, and behind this hype, the researchers have provided some interesting new observations pertaining to the Paleolithic diet and the evolution of human predators.

Many of you would have read the Haaretz headline “Our Oldest Secret: We Have Been Super-predators for 2 Million Years” and rightfully thought, hang on a second, that’s pretty obvious. Isn’t it? If this were not the case then there would be monarchies of felines and armies of dogs running the globe.

However, Israeli archaeologists have revealed how we humans are “super-predators” and that we are “hardwired by evolution to hunt our food sources into extinction.”

Humans became super predators and then eventually killed off most of the large mammals that roamed the Earth. (nicolasprimola / Adobe Stock)

Humans became super predators and then eventually killed off most of the large mammals that roamed the Earth. (nicolasprimola / Adobe Stock)

Humans: Predators Made By Evolution To Hunt Large Animals

Humans are “super-predators,” genetically, and for a long time it has been known that we have been designed by evolution to hunt, outwit and ultimately kill large animals to obtain meat and fat. According to this new study on the eating habits of prehistoric hominins, we have done this for two million years, “whether or not that meant driving other species to extinction.”

The new study was published in March in the American Association of Physical Anthropologists by Dr. Miki Ben-Dor and Prof. Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University, and Raphael Sirtoli, a health sciences researcher at the University of Minho, Portugal.

The researchers correlated the results from over 400 previous studies, which provided established biological, genetic, archaeological and molecular data pertaining to the diets of our early ancestors.

The conclusion of the new study is that humans are “specialized hypercarnivores” who diversified their diets at the tail-end of our evolutionary story. And only because “we were forced to do so after killing off our main food source.”

If this was a timeline, then you can see that the right side, the future, has no big easy-to-kill mammals at all! (Maxim Chuev / Adobe Stock)

Mapping the Human Transition from Vegan to Meat Diets

Homo erectus was the first member of our species to dominate the global food chain and become what zoologists call “a hypercarnivore” or “apex predator.” These terms describe mammals with diets where 70 percent of their food was other animals.

Ben-Dor, who is the lead author of the study, wrote in the new paper that the human colon is “77 percent smaller than that of the chimpanzee, while our small intestine is 64 percent longer.” The colon is where energy is extracted from plant fiber and the small intestine is where sugars, proteins and fat are absorbed.

What this means is that after the humans diverged from the chimp line around six million years ago, “we progressively became more adapted at extracting energy from meat and lost most of our ability to do so from plants.” These findings are also evident in the evolution of Australopithecines’ teeth.

Australopithecines lived from four to two million years ago and they had protruding big jaws and large flat molars for grinding large amounts of plant material. In the paper Dr. Miki Ben-Dor says that in Homo erectus’ evolution, “mandibles and teeth shrink to a size comparable to that of modern humans.” The key inference is that by then early human hunters had “evolved” to eating meat.

When we made the transition to farming and drinking milk products, we also developed intolerances to dairy products and grain food sources. (Public domain)

When we made the transition to farming and drinking milk products, we also developed intolerances to dairy products and grain food sources. (Public domain)

Evolutionary Blips in Modern Culture

To what extent humans contributed to the extinction of all megafauna species in greatly debated, but Dr Ben-Dor wrote that “climate fluctuates all the time and it does create pressure, but in the past these pressures didn’t cause such mass extinction events, so it was probably a combination of climate change and overhunting.”

The Paleolithic period lasted from 3.3 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago, at which time humans became “reluctant omnivores.” Bringing these new insights into evolutionary dietary conditions into the modern world, the new paper will deepen the growing research into the physical repercussions of the sharp transition from meats to cereals, and dairy foods, which happened with the onset of farming about 12,000 years ago. And this rapid change has likely caused much of the gluten and milk intolerance in modern society today.

Top image: For 2 million years prehistoric humans were super predators and then all the easy prey went extinct, and we had to evolve to a new dietary paradigm: farming.       Source: anibal / Adobe Stock

By Ashley Cowie



My view is that the content of this article is utter rubbish from top to bottom.

Mit dem Kontext bin ich nicht einverstanden sie sind gezwungen so handeln, weil das alles und Eiszeiten, Meteoriten, Vulkanismus und waren genug Intelligent sich anzupassen. Und am ende fast jede Errungenschaft verwandelt sich zum Fluch Zum Beispiel Feuer - CO², Nadel – Textilien Beispiel Aralsee.  

Determining a diet of meat from a variety of species does not prove hyper-hunting.

Vultures have a diet of meat from a variety of species without hunting at all. It's called 'scavenging.'

Even the presence of spear tips does not, itself, prove hunting. Spears can also be used for self-defense against predators, for warfare and for active scavenging with menace.

What we have here is the dogma of humans as the ignoble savages that kill everything. It is not so much science as religious speculation.

While humanity has much to be blamed for, those who seek to blame humanity for the destruction of the planet that has not yet been destroyed are just adding another thing for which humanity can be rightly blamed. That is, the destruction of scientific methodology and objective reason by emotional claptrap.

Exhibit A: Koalas are dying. It's humanity at fault. Real culprit - chlamydia.
Exhibit B: Frogs are dying. It's humanity at fault. Real culprit- chytrid.
Exhibit C: Eucalypts are dying. It's humanity at fault.
Real culprits: many and varied, but fungus and insects feature prominently.

If early humans were so smart (and they most probably were), why would they risk injury by hunting all of the time when forcing other predators off their prey was likely more successful and less dangerous?

The reality is that the further we are removed from the natural world, the less individuals understand the risk and rewards that would have driven our ancestors. In short, so many know so little that they don't even realise how little they know.

It's called 'urbanisation' and it has profoundly changed the way people think in a very short time indeed.

Bruce Nowakowski's picture

 There may have been hunting, but I doubt it was over hunting.  Assuming our ancestors acted somewhat similar to what the more groups of modern humans who live a more primative lifestyle today do, they would hold great reverence for the animals they hunted.  Careful only to kill enough to eat and supply other needs (i.e. clothing and shelter).    If they Younger Dryas ended in calamity as we suspect, our ancestors also bottlenecked at the same time and would have also diminished in population as nearly every myth in the world describes.   There would not have been over hunting enough to affect the populations, but the climate change that occured did.

Hi All,

During the Pandemic when we humans were forced to quarantine the coolest outcome from the dismal experience was watching a little of Nature balance itself out without human interference.

Bird's in the air fish in the sea an animal's on the Land virtually healing an at least two weeks back cold hearted hunters put nature out of balance with the hunting and killing of Wolves which is a Sin against God; How?

Well the argument the church preaches is that God don't make mistakes; obviously God viewed the Wolf as a beautiful Creation he made the Wolf the same day He created Man. If the Wolf wasn't supposed to be here God wouldn't of allowed The Male and his Female in to The Ark.

Going back to what I first mentioned on the killing of Wolves an other animals a Sin against God. In the Bible God says that the only time an animal could be killed by a human being is if that said animal like a Bull was too Gore A Man to Death Un-provoked or for Food

When I lived about three in a half year's in Northern, California Yreka to be exact I did meet active hunters but they were living lives that God said was alright too live they killed deer for food many a hunter talked about how good venison was too eat.

A nice man I took an art class with even brought frozen venison meat too share it with the class. Since my household never cooked meat he provided instructions for how to prepare it, so that was the right way of handling deer meat.

Big game hunters an the cruel Super Predators hunting down the wolves aren't killing the animals with honor but with disdain and the deer hunters these guys aren't killing for Food. It's disrespectful an again I stress a Sin against God.

Happily in Isaiah the prophet paints a picture of what God's Country will be like in relationship too People an animal's, The Bears will be like an Ox, The Lion will interact with Animal's formerly it's Food, the Wolves will lie down with the Lamb's an No killing will be taking place in Heaven.

I think the reason it bothers me so much about how these hunters are going after the Bears, the Wolves and The Big Game Animal's is another century before these Super Predator Men would of been Slave Catchers.

My ancestors who were attempting to runaway an these hunters now in 2021, and their glee of killing the Bears and Wolves is like the glee of the Slave Catchers Flogging the Runaways (think of the movie Amistad everyone had to watch on the Slave ship a person born free kidnapped in to Slavery being mercilessly flogged, as blood is flying in the air landing on some of them watching), that's what I'm thinking about considering this Biblically Illegal Killing of God's Wolves of course I'm aware many may not agree with me, I am simply expressing how I feel about all of this.

Did you know when Santa Cruz was deserted during pandemic that for the first time ever Female Leather Back Sea Turtles came up on the beach there an were able too lay their Eggs; now that people has returned that's not going to happen anytime soon.

Leather Back Sea Turtles are still on the Endangered Species List.

Remember the birds and wild flocks of goats descending from the mountains doing a little sight seeing desertion of people. Italy, France, Germany, Birds appeared that had never came around before because of the throngs of people.

People in small boats out on the water approached by curious Dolphins seeming to talk too them.

An even before this Pandemic hit extradinary stories of interaction of people an animal's were line in the News on an Daily basis.

For instance, a dog lived near a college campus (it was a stray), observed people approach Kiosk on campus hand something over to the person running the Kiosk and would receive food. After, observing this human behavior the dog picked up leaves from the ground in its mouth (oh I thought Dogs were color blind), walked up to the Kiosk an gave the person leaves.

The kiosk operator picked up on what the dog was doing and gave it food an everyday the stray dog would give leaves from the ground to the Kiosk operator (I do not know if stray was adopted).

That dog is nothing compared to the next animal encounter, a police officer is sitting in their cruiser it's lunch time, all of a sudden a Duck flies up to the window with its beak and knocks on the window, the officer at first thinks Duck wants food but no that isn't the case.

The duck caps it's wings wildly an seeming to want the officer follow luckily like Kiosk owner with the dog they follow the duck which leads them too a discarded net where her babies are trapped and can't get out.

Using their knife they proceed to cut the ducklings out of the discarded net, while mama duck waits patiently an when all her babies are freed immediately gets them into the lake. How people did the duck know to go too a police cruiser for help?

A grown squirrel on another College campus runs up too random people seemingly agitated but, appeared to be asking for help so two curious people follow an it's little Squirrel baby fell out of the nest careful not too injure it for its insides could be seen clearly, the squirrel runs up the tree to where it's best was an they help baby squirrel back into the nest.

Last Animal story a shark swims repeatedly brushing up against a diver it's not till the shark reveals its flipper where a fish hook is embedded in its flesh. The diver under the water mind you assists the shark an gets the hook out of its body, No shark did not attack him.

In another sad shark story a fishing net was nearly severing a Sharks dorsal fin it swam too interestingly at the time two women divers.

It then laid silent not moving an the women sees its dorsal fin with the fishing line an net around it one of the women then pulls out there knife an cuts the fishing line and net from its dorsal fin, and when procedure was over the shark swims away slowly.

I just recently read in a Newspaper article that Japan & China are planning to Farm Octopuses; I'm thinking seriously we're pillaging Earth like these resources are going to be here forever.

In case no one here at Ancient Origins has not seen nor heard of The Dust Bowl in the 1930's & in to the 1950's, may I recommend watching Ken Burns Documentary Parts 1 & 2?

Because that is an example of what can go wrong when people keep taking, taking, taking from Nature, till there's nothing else left too take.

I recognize how I believe irritate people but it's ridiculous what is happening with Super Predator people against The Animal's that upon Creation originally we were of Care Takers in this World; which we were told by God too inherit The Earth.

We lived in an balanced harmony with all of Nature but, when the first parents made an unwise decision broke the only Rule of God's then people split in two sects Care Takers and Destroyers.

In some cases we can extreme Care Takers other instances become extreme destroyers but if Super Predators all over the Globe keeps this up the only other beings left to pillage and exploit are each other.

For the record getting back to God giving us Planet Earth too inherit in Isaiah He still reminds People that Earth is His, an The Animal's are Mine.

That's my argument for this discussion and I am sticking too it, so until next time, Everyone, Goodbye!

ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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