The evidence is here and it shows that our prehistoric ancestors regularly dined on turtles. In fact, early man had developed a taste for this slow-moving reptile.
We may have heard of the proverbial turtle soup but rarely do most modern individuals have a palate for tortoises. Like tripe, it is a rarity to find someone enjoying a turtle straight out of its shell.
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A recent excavation near Qesem Cave in Tel Aviv, Israel showed that it is not East Asians alone who prefer turtles in their diet.
The bones of the species of early man found here belonged to the Late Lower Paleolithic Period. Among the bones of creatures that prehistoric man fed on were those of turtles.
The Israeli researchers alongside their Spanish and German counterparts found that turtle bones were extant at this 400,000 year old site.
Thus early man ate turtles not to mention large game animals and lots of green vegetation. While he probably lived frugally, that did not mean that he did not have a healthy diet.
Primitive man had a broad and variegated diet that contained lots of natural stuff that more than fulfilled all the needs of the human body after a day’s search for food.
The tools used for hunting were fairly advanced as well. This study was led by Dr Ruth Blasco and it got published in the scientific journal Quaternary Science Reviews.
The research points towards the rich diet and culinary experiences of early man. He may not have been a gourmet but he had his fill despite periods of relative scarcity.
Hunting meat and vegetables were not the only sources of nourishment for our ancestors. Rather they depended on various other living beings for food – which included both plants and animals among them.
Scattered among the remains at the site were tortoise shells and bones. So many of these had been consumed over the 200,000 year period during which these ancestors of ours had lived in the region.
The bones of these turtles showed they had been hit repeatedly in order to stun them and then they had been eaten with relish. While previously it was believed that the inhabitants of Qesem Cave mostly ate vegetation, now we know better.
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The turtles were collected, processed and then roasted before being eaten. Most of the slow-moving tortoises were a sort of canned or packaged food for early man. The seniors or the children were responsible for collecting the easy-to-capture tortoises.