Skip to content

Human Dietary Ecology

Our research examines the ecology of human diets using archaeological evidence. We use ecological measures and behavioral theory to quantify human dietary change during the late Pleistocene and Holocene in the context of local ecosystems that supplied plant and animal food resources. In an archaeological context, the human diet is an ecological phenomenon because it is about the supply, harvest, processing and energetic returns of plant and animal resources from natural ecosystems.

Despite their dietary importance, geophytes have largely been ignored when diet breadth analyses and foraging theory are applied to archaeological studies. The energetic rankings of food resources commonly used to explain human subsistence patterns and dietary shifts would have to be substantially revised to accommodate and elevate the role of calorie-rich geophytes.

Last Updated: 3/24/21