Skip to comments.New evidence of plant food processing in Italy during Neanderthal-to-Homo sapiens period
Posted on 07/07/2023 11:02:16 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Long before the invention of agriculture, humans already knew how to process cereals and other wild plants into a flour suitable for food—and now there's new evidence they did so long before scientists was previously thought.
Published in Quaternary Science Reviews, an Italian-led study of five ancient grindstones from around 39,000 to 43,000 years ago shows that milling for food dates back to the transitional period between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens...
The Neanderthal-to-Homo sapiens period was characterized by the coexistence of the Late Mousterian (Neanderthal), Uluzzian and Protoaurignacian (H. sapiens) techno-complexes in the northwest and southwest of present-day Italy.
The grindstones come from two Paleolithic sites some 1,000 km apart on the Tyrrhenian Sea side of the peninsula: Riparo Bombrini, in the Balzi Rossi archaeological area of Liguria, and Grotta di Castelcivita, at the foot of the Alburni Massif, in Campania.
Starch granules with different morphologies were found on the surface of grindstones at both sites, testifying to the use of different plants, including wild cereals, by humans who inhabited the areas at that time.
Evidence of similar grinding practices in both contexts underlines how certain technological knowledge and eating habits were widespread in both populations, perhaps as a legacy already present within the two different cultural traditions or perhaps as a result of actual contact between the two groups.
The grindstone from the Mousterian levels of the Riparo Bombrini constitutes the oldest European examples of the processing and transformation of plant products in Europe and shows Neanderthals engaged in this practice. The two pestles from the Protoaurignacian levels at the site show modern humans who occupied the site less than a millennium later also engaged in the same behavior.
(Excerpt) Read more at phys.org ...
Location of the sites.
Ask Joe Biden. He’ll remember.
It is pretty well established that the growth of the human brain required a daily caloric intake that can only be supplied by the ability to cook gathered foodstuffs turning them into digestible sugars and starches. So cooking precedes homo sapiens.
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