Isotopic evidence for dietary variability in the early hominin Paranthropus robustus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Traditional methods of dietary reconstruction do not allow the investigation of dietary variability within the lifetimes of individual hominins. However, laser ablation stable isotope analysis reveals that the delta13C values of Paranthropus robustus individuals often changed seasonally and interannually. These data suggest that Paranthropus was not a dietary specialist and that by about 1.8 million years ago, savanna-based foods such as grasses or sedges or animals eating these foods made up an important but highly variable part of its diet.

published proceedings

  • Science

altmetric score

  • 36.274

author list (cited authors)

  • Sponheimer, M., Passey, B. H., de Ruiter, D. J., Guatelli-Steinberg, D., Cerling, T. E., & Lee-Thorp, J. A.

citation count

  • 167

complete list of authors

  • Sponheimer, Matt||Passey, Benjamin H||de Ruiter, Darryl J||Guatelli-Steinberg, Debbie||Cerling, Thure E||Lee-Thorp, Julia A

publication date

  • November 2006