lunes, 1 de febrero de 2016

Prehistoric Men in Israel Roasted Tortoises 400,000 Years Ago

1/4. Marks on the bony plate of tortoise indicate that hominins living in Qesem Cave had a routine for handling the reptiles, including roasting them in the shell and breaking open the shells with axes. Dr. Ruth Blasco, Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, CENIEH
Marks on shells found in Qesem Cave suggest the hominins had established sequences of processing, including cracking open tortoises with stone hammers and cooking them in their shell.

Prehistoric men living in Qesem Cave, Israel nearly half a million years ago ate tortoises, say archaeologists based on shell and bone remains found in the site, which bore clear marks of man-caused damage and burning. It is the oldest-known example of cooked tortoise cuisine.

What ancient humans ate has always been of vast interest, and the answer seems to be largely, whatever they could get their hands on. Chemical analyses of Neanderthal remains from northern European climes indicated dietary rigidity and heavy reliance on meat. Recent evidence indicates that prehistoric men were responsible for the extinction of giant birds and other mega-fauna in Australia; other evidence indicates that the ancients did not cavil at eating micro-mammals.

That said, hunting isn't easy, leading to speculation that images of hairy proto-men gathered around a campfire feasting on mammoths are fantastical, and that Stone Age and earlier people ate mainly vegetable matter. Some evidence – also from Qesem, 400,000 years ago – shows clear evidence of meat-eating.

In fact it turns out that prehistoric hominids, going back a couple of million years, had a taste for tortoise. They're delicious, reportedly, and nutritious, their shells are useful, and they are as easy to catch as a potato. (As the scientists put it, hunting them is a low-risk, low-energy activity.) The discovery that cavemen living in Qesem cooked and ate tortoises some 400,000 to 300,000 years ago should therefore not surprise. [...]

Actualización: Las tortugas eran un alimento complementario en la dieta humana hace 400.000 años | CENIEH
El CENIEH lidera un estudio publicado en la revista Quaternary Science Reviews sobre el descubrimiento de marcas de procesamiento humano sobre restos de caparazón y huesos de tortuga en el yacimiento israelí de la Cueva de Qesem

A la brasa, hervidas o salteadas, el consumo de tortugas se ha asociado siempre a las exóticas culturas del Lejano Oriente, donde la sopa de tortuga se considera una delicatesen. También se suele vincular a las aventuras de los marineros del siglo XVI y XVII, o incluso a las tribus del Brasil central, como los Kayapó. Sin embargo, su consumo se remonta a cronologías muy antiguas, según evidencia el artículo que se acaba de publicar en la prestigiosa revista Quaternary Science Reviews por un equipo internacional liderado por la Dra. Ruth Blasco, del Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), que recoge los descubrimientos efectuados en el yacimiento israelí de la Cueva de Qesem, muy cerca de Tel Aviv, según el cual los grupos humanos de hace 400.000 años incorporaron las tortugas como parte complementaria en sus dietas...

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Actualización: Las tortugas eran un alimento complementario en la dieta humana hace 400.000 años | CENIEH