When our human ancestors started eating meat, evolution served up a healthy bonus ­ the development of genes that offset high cholesterol and chronic diseases associated with a meat-rich diet, according to a new USC study.



Those ancestors also started living longer than ever before ­ an unexpected evolutionary twist…..

The research by USC professors Caleb Finch and Craig Stanford appears in Wednesday’s Quarterly Review of Biology.
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“At some point ­ probably about 2 1/2 million years ago ­ meat eating became important to humans,” said Stanford, chair of the anthropology department in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, “and when that happened, everything changed.”
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“Meat contains cholesterol and fat, not to mention potential parasites and diseases like Mad Cow,” he said. “We believe humans evolved to resist these kinds of things. Mad Cow disease ­ which probably goes back millions of years ­ would have wiped out the species if we hadn’t developed meat-tolerant genes.”
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