Ancient humans were cooking plant-based, carbohydrate-abundant foods almost 170,000 years ago, according to new findings. Archaeologists discovered charred fragments of starchy plant remains. They did the intriguing finding at an archaeological site in Border Cave, somewhere close to the border between Swaziland and South Africa.
Archaeologists stated that the fragments are thought to come from a dense underground plant stems. Such things, known as rhizomes, offer the most ancient proof of roasting plants full of carbohydrates. Also, according to Dr.Lyn Wadley, an archaeologist from With University’s Evolutionary Studies Insitute in Johannesburg, the findings are one of the most ancient cooked rhizomes discovered to date.
Moreover, the researchers state that while animal-based diets of ancient people have been examined very much, there are not many details on such a recent finding. The reason is because of the stone items and bones left behind from the ancient humans’ hunting actions are kept better in archaeological places than perishable plant-based foods. Researchers, however, state that while plant-based carbohydrates “almost certainly contributed substantially to ancient nutrition,” it is unknown when people first started eating them.
Ancient Humans Cooked Plant-Based Carbs 170,000 Years Ago
An international team of researchers found the 170,000-year-old burnt rhizome fragments five years ago while examining through the remains from ancient cooking fires at the Border Cave. By examining the specimens, they discovered they were part of a small flowering plant called Hypoxis angustifolia. The plant has a white rhizome and is growing in the southern Africa region.
Dr.Wadley thinks that the fragments were only preserved because they were burnt. They were also described as “strange little charcoal pieces that seemed very uniform in size.”
The team also identified some burnt bones as part of the rhizomes, which according to Dr. Wadley, showed “people had a balanced diet of plant food that they cooked as well as animal food that they cooked.” She added: “We think the rhizomes were shared in the cave after they were cooked. It is most likely they were shared with the very young and the very old.”