When hominids were primarily vegetarians, they were pretty comparable to other animals on the African plains – and considerably inferior to the great predators of Africa. Leopards, in particular, were fond of hominid for dinner, just as today they’re pretty fond of monkey. (NO, I’m not making up the leopard thing: hominid skulls – a lot of them –have been found with the marks of leopard teeth on them.)
Meat changed all that.
Apart from being incredibly potent brain-food, the processes involved in regularly eating meat, are enormously potent catalysts of change. Acquiring meat opportunistically is about as complicated as a hillbilly collecting road-kill – but hunting for meat changes you from a big monkey to a freaking predator! Developing the skills required to hunt, kill, skin, butcher, cook, and, most importantly share meat, is an ever-escalating cycle which leads, as Stanley Kubrick showed in 2001: a Space Odyssey, directly from a bone club to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles tipped with Thermonuclear Weapons, and guys complaining about how boring their flight to the freaking Moon was!
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