An anonymous reader writes: It is perhaps intrinsically human, to wonder about your origins. Now, new research has emerged that has found that our ancestors' dietary habits had a hand in keeping some alive and driving others extinct. Specifically, research has found that ancestors who were vegetarians died out while their meat-eating counterparts – our ancestors – thrived.
Vincent Balter, of the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, and his colleagues in Toulouse, France and Johannesburg, South Africa studied the enamel in fossilized teeth. According to the study published in the most recent issue of Nature, "Laser ablation profiles of strontium/calcium, barium/calcium and strontium isotope ratios in tooth enamel are a means to decipher intra-individual diet and habitat changes." In other words, the researchers used lasers to quantify the amount of barium, calcium, and strontium, which allowed them to determine their diets and where they lived.