Humans Were Cooking As Early As 780,000 Years Ago, New Groundbreaking Discovery Proves. It Was Probably Fish.
Cooking was a fundamental step in human evolution. “Around 1 to 2 million years ago, early humans developed taller bodies and bigger brains. The thinking is that calorie-rich diets, and cooking in particular, drove this change,” said David Braun, professor of anthropology at Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. But scientists have been element about when humans developed that skill. A new study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution has a potential answer: Homo erectus—an ancestor of modern humans—were cooking food 780,000 years ago.
Previous research had set that date as 170,000 years ago; there is evidence that early Homo sapiens and Neanderthals used fire to cook vegetables and meat. The study’s findings may shift the commonly understood timeline of human development. Read on to discover what the scientists found and why it could significantly affect science.
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Evidence of Oven-Cooked Fish
In the study, researchers looked at an archaeological site in Israel, Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, which is about 780,000 years old. Communities of Homo erectus lived in the region, enjoying a diet of game, fruits and vegetables, and freshwater fish. But experts didn’t know if they ate their food raw or cooked.
Analyzing the remains of fish teeth found near fireplaces at the site, the research team found that the community had indeed cooked those meals at between 530 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This suggests they were cooked in some kind of earthen oven.