We’ve been battling obesity crisis for 12.5million years! Analysis of pre-historic teeth supports theory a genetic mutation caused sugar in the body to turn into fat
- Analysis of tooth decay in creatures which lived 12.5m years ago may be evidence humans have a genetic mutation which turns sugar into fat
- Modern obesity has been blamed on modern binge eating and bad lifestyles
- Scientists said it was once an ‘advantage’ for man which has turned against us
Fast food and modern lifestyles are often blamed for the obesity crisis.
But human ancestors may have begun getting fat 12.5 million years ago, a study said.
It is well known that modern-day humans have a sweet tooth, gorging on sugary treats which cause us to put on weight.
But analysis of the teeth of an early ancestor of humans and apes, which lived around 12.5 million years ago, now suggests our ancient relative was doing the same thing.
Modern day weight gain is blamed on fast food and overindulgence of sugary treats – but our weight problems appear to date back long before the rise of takeaways
The tooth decay identified suggests the creatures which evolved into humans stuffed themselves with honey and high-sugar fruits. The new evidence supports the theory our ancestors and modern humans both have a genetic mutation which causes sugar in the body to turn into fat.
But, while it was helpful to our ancestors to build up fat reserves when food was scarce in winter, for us it can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Tooth decay in some creatures living 12.5 million years ago shows there may be a genetic mutations which turns sugar into fat in our bodies
Professor Madelaine Bohme, co-author of the study from Tübingen University, said: ‘A mutation which happened millions of years ago is largely responsible for early great apes being able to settle Eurasia and to produce an enormous diversity of species.
‘We carry that legacy within us. But this advantage has turned into a handicap for us in a world of industrially produced foodstuffs.’ The German study analysed the teeth of Dryopithecus carinthiacus, the earliest known member of the human family.