Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 November 2010

The Cavemen’s Complex Kitchen

Kristen Minogue, Science, 18/10/2010

New research suggests that our ancestors may have been more skillful in the kitchen than we thought. A team of Italian scientists has found what may be the oldest direct evidence of humans grinding plants into flour, suggesting that grains were on the menu 20,000 years before farming became the norm. The idea of ‘man the hunter’ dominates popular preconceptions of early humans. But that’s grossly oversimplified, says lead author Anna Revedin of the Italian Institute of Prehistory and Early History in Florence. Although meat was a crucial part of the early human diet, she says, plants were necessary fare as well. Plant remains don’t last as long as bones, however, and even though some studies have found evidence of potential grinding tools in prehistoric sites, the stones may have been used just to crush red ochre for cave or face painting.

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