Insights into human evolution from ancient and contemporary microbiome studies
Over the past decade, human microbiome research has energized the study of human evolution through a complete shift in our understanding of what it means to be human. The microbiome plays a pivotal role in human biology, performing key functions in digestion, mood and behavior, development and immunity, and a range of acute and chronic diseases. It is therefore critical to understand its evolution and changing ecology through time. Here we review recent findings on the microbiota of diverse human populations, non-human primates, and past human populations and discuss the implications of this research in formulating a deeper evolutionary understanding of the human holobiont.