Opendata, web and dolomites


Plant foods in human evolution: Factors affecting the harvest of nutrients from the floral environment

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "HARVEST" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RAPENBURG 70
city: LEIDEN
postcode: 2311 EZ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Total cost 1˙499˙950 €
 EC max contribution 1˙499˙950 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-02-01   to  2022-01-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITEIT LEIDEN NL (LEIDEN) coordinator 1˙499˙950.00


 Project objective

Plant foods comprise the majority of most human diets, yet the potential importance of these foods in human evolution is often overlooked. Using a behavioral ecology framework, the HARVEST project explores fundamental questions: Why did hominins choose to eat certain plants? What were their foraging goals? We will focus on two objectives: 1) Reconstructing the diets of fossil hominins and 2) Exploring the costs and benefits of plant foods. To understand the factors driving food choice by ancient hominins, we must know what they ate. Analyses of plant remains, proteins, DNA and other residues preserved in dental calculus are cutting-edge methods for reconstructing diets, and provide information about food, processing techniques, and oral microbiota. With a sequential sampling approach, we will combine these analyses to identify foods consumed by hominin groups for which plants are thought to be of great importance. The decision to consume a particular plant depends on its inherent properties (nutrients and antifeedants) and on the biological and technological abilities of the consumer, so that each potential food has a different cost and benefit. We will study the variation in plant properties among microhabitats in African environments similar to those used by hominins, to better model their food choices. Separately, our study of the food choices among living African foraging and farming groups will reveal if plants are chosen for calories, micronutrients or cultural preferences, while analysis of their gut microbiota and studies of their food processing behaviors will indicate how they acquire nutrients from these foods. Finally, we will assess how the costs of fire might influence food processing choices. Results from these studies will help fill important lacunae in our understanding of hominin diets, broaden our knowledge of hominin behaviors in a variety of environments, and help generate hypotheses about the relationships between diet and human evolution.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Tytti Juhola, Amanda G. Henry, Tuija Kirkinen, Juha Laakkonen, Minna Väliranta
Phytoliths, parasites, fibers, and feathers from dental calculus and sediment from Iron Age Luistari cemetery, Finland
published pages: 105888, ISSN: 0277-3791, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.105888
Quaternary Science Reviews 222 2020-02-28
2019 Oliver C.C. Paine, Abigale Koppa, Amanda G. Henry, Jennifer N. Leichliter, Daryl Codron, Jacqueline Codron, Joanna E. Lambert, Matt Sponheimer
Seasonal and habitat effects on the nutritional properties of savanna vegetation: Potential implications for early hominin dietary ecology
published pages: 99-107, ISSN: 0047-2484, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.01.003
Journal of Human Evolution 133 2019-09-17
2018 Julio Mercader, Tolutope Akeju, Melisa Brown, Mariam Bundala, Matthew J. Collins, Les Copeland, Alison Crowther, Peter Dunfield, Amanda Henry, Jamie Inwood, Makarius Itambu, Joong-Jae Kim, Steve Larter, Laura Longo, Thomas Oldenburg, Robert Patalano, Ramaswami Sammynaiken, María Soto, Robert Tyler, Hermine Xhauflair
Exaggerated expectations in ancient starch research and the need for new taphonomic and authenticity criteria
published pages: 777-798, ISSN: 2371-1671, DOI: 10.1139/facets-2017-0126
FACETS 3/1 2019-09-17
2018 Stephanie L. Schnorr, Marco Candela, Simone Rampelli, Silvia Turroni, Amanda G. Henry, Alyssa N. Crittenden
\"Comment on \"\"Seasonal cycling in the gut microbiome of the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania”\"
published pages: 284513, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1101/284513
BioRxiv 2019-09-17
2018 Amanda G. Henry, Emma Devereux, Bjørn Peare Bartholdy
European Society for the Study of Human Evolution 2017: old sites, new methods
published pages: 5-6, ISSN: 1060-1538, DOI: 10.1002/evan.21571
Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews 27/1 2019-09-17
2019 Amanda G. Henry, Antje Hutschenreuther, Oliver C.C. Paine, Jennifer Leichleiter, Daryl Codron, Jacqui Codron, James Loudon, Stephanie Adolph, Matt Sponheimer
Influences on plant nutritional variation and their potential effects on hominin diet selection
published pages: 18-30, ISSN: 0034-6667, DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2018.11.001
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 261 2019-09-17
2018 Amanda G. Henry, Thomas Büdel, Pierre-Louis Bazin
Towards an understanding of the costs of fire
published pages: , ISSN: 1040-6182, DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2018.06.037
Quaternary International 2019-06-19
2017 Amanda G. Henry
Neanderthal Cooking and the Costs of Fire
published pages: S329-S336, ISSN: 0011-3204, DOI: 10.1086/692095
Current Anthropology 58/S16 2019-06-19
2017 Amanda G. Henry, Holly F. Hudson, Dolores R. Piperno
Cooked Starch Database
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3734335.v1
Figshare 2019-06-19
2018 Robert C. Power, Domingo C. Salazar-García, Mauro Rubini, Andrea Darlas, Katerina Harvati, Michael Walker, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Amanda G. Henry
Dental calculus indicates widespread plant use within the stable Neanderthal dietary niche
published pages: 27-41, ISSN: 0047-2484, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.02.009
Journal of Human Evolution 119 2019-06-19
2017 Peter W. Lucas, Ridwaan Omar, Khaled Al-Fadhalah, Abdulwahab S. Almusallam, Amanda G. Henry, Shaji Michael, Lidia Arockia Thai, Jörg Watzke, David S. Strait, Adam van Casteren, Anthony G. Atkins
Tooth wear: A response to “Scratching the surface: A critique of Lucas et al. (2013)\'s conclusion that phytoliths do not abrade enamel” [J. Hum. Evol. 74 (2014) 130–133]
published pages: 75-77, ISSN: 0047-2484, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.08.004
Journal of Human Evolution 102 2019-06-19
2018 Oliver C.C. Paine, Abigale Koppa, Amanda G. Henry, Jennifer N. Leichliter, Daryl Codron, Jacqueline Codron, Joanna E. Lambert, Matt Sponheimer
Grass leaves as potential hominin dietary resources
published pages: 44-52, ISSN: 0047-2484, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.10.013
Journal of Human Evolution 117 2019-06-19
2017 Antje Hutschenreuther, Jörg Watzke, Simone Schmidt, Thomas Büdel, Amanda G. Henry
Archaeological implications of the digestion of starches by soil bacteria: Interaction among starches leads to differential preservation
published pages: 95-108, ISSN: 2352-409X, DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.07.006
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 15 2019-06-19

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