Paleo Diet Timeline and Book List




It’s easy to just talk about diet and the paleolithic era by saying “human evolution in the paleolithic”. That’s also easy to get jumbled up. Here’s a list of not only Homo sapiens, but the dates and diets of older fossils within the Homo genus. These species may not all be our direct ancestors, but it gives a good idea of the diets of our ancestral line and related branches.

For context, I’ve also added some of the “great” moments in agricultural history. This is followed up by a chronological links of the major books related to the paleo diet and its aliases. I’m working on making this list more detailed and potentially adding a list of scholarly articles. It would be cool to be able to visualize the relative time periods as well. In a text list, it’s easy to lose perspective of how little time humans have been eating grains.

Pre-Homo Species

-6,000,000 Divergence from other ape species

-3,750,000 Australopithecus afarensis (staples: fruit, leaves, pith, seeds)

Paleolithic Era

-2,600,000 Lower Paleolithic (first stone tools)
-1,900,000 Homo rudolfensis (staples: leaves, seeds, tubers opportunistic: fruits, large insects, small vertebrates)
-1,900,000 Homo erectus (staples: fruit, meat opportunistic: small vertebrates, insects)
-1,830,000 Homo habilis (staples: fruit, leaves, herbs opportunistic: meat from large vertebrates)
-1,810,000 Homo georgicus (staples: tubers, roots, seeds, herbs, opportunistic: fruit, meat)
-1,600,000 Homo ergaster (staples: meat, small vertebrates, tubers, fruits, seeds, nuts, insects)
-700,000 Homo antecessor (staples: herbs, seeds, tubers, roots seasonal: nuts, fruits, mushrooms, meat)
-600,000 Homo rhodensiensis (80% plant sources, 20% animal sources)
-420,000 Homo pekinensis (staples: herbs, seeds, nuts, roots, tubers seasonal: meat, fruit, berries)
-400,000 Homo heidelbergensis (80% plant sources, 20% animal sources)
-250,000 Middle Paleolithic (stone scrapers, points, backed knives, etc.)
-200,000 Homo sapiens (modern human species)
-175,000 Homo neanderthalensis (staples: large game, bone marrow, cannibalism opportunistic: plants)
-40,000 Upper Paleolithic (musical instruments, blade tools, spear-throwers, bows and arrows)
-10,000 (BCE) End of Pleistocene

Neolithic Era

-9,500 (BCE) Earliest Agriculture
-8,800 (BCE) Earliest archaeological evidence of harvested emmer wheat
-7800 (BCE) Earliest archaeological evidence of harvested eikorn wheat
-7500 (BCE) Domestication of Maize/Corn
-7000 (BCE) Neolithic Agricultural Revolution (emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, barley, lentil, pea, chickpea, bitter vetch, flax)
-7000 (BCE) Humans breed durum (pasta) wheat by artificial selection of emmer wheat
-7000 (BCE) Average human height shrinks by 5 to 6″ (An Edible History of Humanity)

Paleolithic Era Part II: The Return

1975 – The Stone Age Diet by Walter L. Voegtlin

1989 - The Paleolithic Prescription by S. Boyd Eaton, Marjorie Shostak, and Melvin Konner

1995 - NeanderThin: A Caveman’s Guide to Nutrition by Ray Audette, Troy Gilchrist, and Alan S Brown

2000 - NeanderThin: Eat Like a Caveman to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body by Ray V. Audette, Troy Gilchrist, Raymond V. Audette, and Michael R. Eades

2002 – The Paleo Diet, Cordain

2005 – The Evolution Diet by Joseph Stephen Breese Morse

2005 – The Paleo Diet for Athletes By Loren Cordain and Joe Friel

2006 –  Evolution of the Human Diet: The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable by Peter S. Ungar

2009 - The Original Diet: The Omnivore’s Solution by Roy Mankovitz

2009 - Primal Body-Primal Mind by Nora Teresa Gedgaudas

2009 – The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

2009 – Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham

2010 – The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf

2010 – ‘The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging by Arthur De Vany

2011 – ‘Everyday Paleo‘ by Sarah Fragoso (Foreword by Robb Wolf)