Paleolithic Diet 400,000 Years Ago in Central Israel Included ‘Gourmet’ Tortoises

An Aldabra Giant Tortoise eats at Taronga Zoo on December 4, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Taronga's animals were given special Christmas-themed enrichment treats and puzzles designed to challenge and encourage their natural skills.
Matt King/Getty

The Jerusalem Post reports: Hunters in the Paleolithic era some 400,000 years ago preyed on tortoises for their meat, which they sophisticatedly prepared in fire pits in the Quesem cave, a few kilometers outside of Tel Aviv, researchers from the Tel Aviv University announced on Monday.

The finding, published in the prestigious Quaternary Science Reviews, sheds new light on the eating habits of ancient man, said Prof. Avi Gopher, who co-authored the study.

“The debate was whether people were consuming small animals – like rabbits and birds, which wasted more energy to gather – or only large ones, which provided more food using less energy to gather,” said Gopher by phone on Monday.

“The big story that we suggested in the paper is not just that they ate tortoises, but how they ate them. We have evidence of tortoise bones from fireplaces that are 200,000 to 400,000 years old.”

Read more at the Jerusalem Post


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