Could YOU survive on bugs? Early humans feasted on termite nests as long as 1.8 ...

Early humans were avid insect eaters according to new research which has revealed we feasted on termite nests as long as 1.8 millions years ago.

The thought might make us squeamish now but insects could have accounted for almost half of the daily diet of early man.

It was previously assumed that our early ancestors lived on a diet of large mammal meat or nuts and leaves. 

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We used to be a nation of insect eaters according to new research which has revealed that early man feasted on termite nests (pictured, stock image) 

The discovery came by chance after researchers carried out tests on unusual-looking mud taken in excavations at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.

When testing the mud, it was revealed the sediments were in fact an ancient termite nest, according to researchers from Heriot-Watt University and Wayne State University.

They compared carbon signatures in fossil teeth found at the site to the carbon signatures in the potential food source and made the connection.   

'The discovery came about by chance when I showed a friend who is an insect expert, a picture of the unusual looking soil and discovered it was in fact a termite nest', Dr Clayton Magill, Research Fellow, Heriot-Watt University said.

'We have specialist equipment in the Lyell Centre which is only in a dozen or so labs worldwide, which was able to test, detect and isolate the fossils.

'We've found that insects were in fact a major food source millions of years ago and now we want to go to other archaeological sites to see if any others exist', he said.

Dr Magill said the team had been trying to make this connection for the past 40 years.

'It's evidence of forensic evidence from the past, in action now', he said.

It's no wonder our ancestors were so keen on eating insects - they contain more than twice as much protein per 100g as meat and fish, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. 

Pictured is researcher Clayton Magill holding a bag of insects from 1.8 million years ago. Insects could have accounted for almost half of the daily diet of early man, research has revealed

Pictured is researcher Clayton Magill holding a bag of insects from 1.8 million years ago. Insects could have accounted for almost half of the daily diet of early man, research has revealed

Early humans were avid insect eaters according to new research which has revealed we feasted on termite nests as long as 1.8 millions years ago at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania (artist's impression)

Early humans were avid insect eaters according to new research which has revealed we feasted on termite nests as long as 1.8 millions years ago at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania (artist's impression)

COULD INSECTS BE THE NEXT 'SUPERFOOD'?

Edible insects have been touted as the next 'superfood', with the creepy crawlies packed full of protein, nutrients, potassium, magnesium and three times more fatty acids than omega-3 in salmon.

Insects contain more than twice as much protein per 100g as meat and fish, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

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