Trending News

Ancient Hunter-Gatherers Cooked Tortoise for a Dinner Appetizer


Ancient humans in modern-day Israel likely ate tortoises, or turtles, as an appetizer to supplement their regular diet.

According to The New York Times, a team of researchers found tortoise remains that suggested the animal was cooked and, in some cases, butchered beforehand. The researchers detailed their findings in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

"Until now, it was believed that Paleolithic humans hunted and ate mostly large game and vegetal material," Ran Barkai, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University who helped with the discovery, said in a press release. "Our discovery adds a really rich human dimension - a culinary and therefore cultural depth to what we already know about these people.

"We know by the dental evidence we discovered earlier that the Qesem inhabitants ate vegetal food.

"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."

The researchers found the remains at a site called Qesem Cave, which was first discovered in 2000 when a road construction crew happened upon it. The cave was likely used by hunter-gatherers some 400,000 years ago.

"In some cases in history, we know that slow-moving animals like tortoises were used as a 'preserved' or 'canned' food," study lead author Ruth Blasco, of the Centro Nacional de Investigacion Sobre la Evolucion Humana in Spain, said in the release. "Maybe the inhabitants of Qesem were simply maximizing their local resources. In any case, this discovery adds an important new dimension to the knowhow, capabilities and perhaps taste preferences of these people."

© 2024 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join the Discussion
Real Time Analytics