Sorry Paleo Dieters, Ancient Stone Discovery Reveals That Cave People Ate Oatmeal

Posted: Sep 16 2015, 9:11pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Sorry Paleo Dieters, Ancient Stone Discovery Reveals that Cave People Ate Oats
Ancient grinding stone and a starch grain embedded on stone surface STEFANO RICCI

Paleolithic ground up oats and other grains and ate them 32,000 years ago, new research suggests.

The Paleo diet tries to follow eating like early humans – adding meat, fish, fruits and vegetables and avoiding all types of cereals and processed food.

But a new archeological discovery suggests that paleo or early humans ground oats and other grains and used to eat them as a part of their meals. 

An ancient grinding stone has been recovered in a cave, Grotta Paglicci in Puglia, southern Italy. The stone is pale brown and is not larger than a human hand. It has some evidence of oat starch on it, which indicates that paleolithic people used to grind up wild oat plants with the stones and did not just eat meat or hunt animals. The stone dates back to some 32,000 years, long before the agriculture has developed, making it the oldest evidence of food processing in Europe. 

Although, the stone was discovered in June 1989 and was studied thoroughly at that time, a new team of researchers recently examined the material from the cave using modern tools and methods. 

The team was led by Marta Mariotti Lippi, a botany professor at the University of Florence in Italy. She claims that “there are many other grinding tools, but this the oldest.”

The research also explains how the tool has been handled by ancient hunter-gatherers. They must have bashed the rounded end of the stone against each other to break up oat seeds. The flat surface has such kind of wear which is produced by grinding of seeds.

Oat seeds had been dried over the fire before grinding because many starch grains were found swollen and thickened, which made crushing faster and easier.

Nevertheless, the findings are challenging today’s paleo diet plan which strictly prohibits carbohydrates and grains.

“The study clearly indicates that the exploitation of plant resources was very important for hunter-gatherer populations, to the point that the Early Gravettian inhabitants of Paglicci were able to process food plants and already possessed a wealth of knowledge that was to become widespread after the dawn of agriculture.” Study concludes.

The study was published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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