Researchers have found proof that our ancestors enjoyed eating tortoise appetizers. The several shells and bones of a tortoise that were discovered in Israel in Qessem cave were dated back to 400,000 years ago. Their presence in the cave has led people to believe that prehistoric humans cooked the animals in their shells and served them as a side dish.
Ran Barkai, Tel Aviv University archaeologist, was the one who led the research. Apart from the remnants of the tortoise, the team also discovered burn marks on certain sides of the shells, a clear sign that they were not burnt in a wildfire, but cooked over a controlled fire. Furthermore, certain marks have led them to believe that our ancestors have used tools to crack and open the shells. The animal was killed with flint knives. Thus it seems clear that they ate the tortoise as an appetizer to the meat they took from large animals, and quite in a sophisticated way.
The Qessem cave where the shells were found was first discovered sixteen years ago in 2000, during some road works. Archaeologists believe it has been inhabited for almost 200,000 years. Apart from the tortoise, other interesting relics were found in the mysterious cave. Some bones found on the ground suggested that prehistoric humans had a calorie-rich diet, including wild ox, fallow deer and horse meat. The plaque from the teeth was also analyzed and proved that our ancestors also consumed various plants in order to survive. It seems they knew better than us that a diverse diet will keep them strong and healthy.
The latest discovery from the team led by Barkai was recently published in the Quaternary Science Reviews journal. The team is also formed by Spanish and German members.
This is not the only discovery regarding the menu of prehistoric humans that was made public this week. American and Australian researchers have found out that a huge bird named Genyornis newtoni has become extinct because humans ate all their eggs. The scientists were able to reach this conclusion by studying the same burn marks made by cooking fires, this time on the eggshells they found in Australia.
In the end, it seems we have underestimated the diverse menu prehistoric humans were able to come up with. Our ancestors enjoyed eating tortoise appetizers and also gigantic bird eggs, and nothing in the world could make them worry about the consequences.
Image Source: Reptiles Magazine