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  Newsmakers   Prehistoric humans ate roasted tortoise

Prehistoric humans ate roasted tortoise

PTI
Published : Feb 3, 2016, 12:56 am IST
Updated : Feb 3, 2016, 12:56 am IST

Palaeolithic humans enjoyed eating roasted tortoises, according to a new study that uncovered evidence of turtle specimens at a 400,000-year-old site in Israel.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti
 PDP president Mehbooba Mufti

Palaeolithic humans enjoyed eating roasted tortoises, according to a new study that uncovered evidence of turtle specimens at a 400,000-year-old site in Israel.

The research provides direct evidence of the relatively broad diet of early Palaeolithic people — and of the “modern” tools and skills employed to prepare it.

The discovery at Qesem Cave near Tel Aviv in Israel, the site of many major findings from the late Lower Palaeolithic period, provides direct evidence of the relatively broad diet of early Palaeolithic people, researchers said.

“Until now, it was believed that Palaeolithic humans hunted and ate mostly large game and vegetal material,” said Ran Barkai, from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

“Our discovery adds a really rich human dimension — a culinary and therefore cultural depth to what we already know about these people,” Barkai said.

The researchers discovered tortoise specimens strewn all over the cave at different levels, indicating that they were consumed over the entire course of the early human 200,000-year inhabitation.

Once exhumed, the bones showed striking marks that reflected the methods the early humans used to process and eat the turtles.

“We know by the dental evidence we discovered earlier that the Qesem inhabitants ate vegetal food,” said Barkai.

“Now we can say they also ate tortoises, which were collected, butchered and roasted, even though they don’t provide as many calories as fallow deer, for example,” he said.

Location: Israel, Jerusalem