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Who would have guessed, pre-historic man ate plants and used fire!

Sometimes, you just have to make a double take on what passes as knowledge. 

As I inspect a batch of 5,000 year old animal bones, charred hickory nuts and processing stones from an archaeological dig dated to the late middle archaic through the late archaic cultural phases, I began to read an article posted on my internet provider stating, “stone aged diet may actually include plants and barbecue.”  Who would have ever think man before our modern age knew how to use fire and knew what plants to eat???

The seeming astonishment of this fact should puzzle all scientists and in our case, botanists.  It is a well established fact that early man harnessed fire and cooked over the grill, something we call barbecue.  I doubt anyone before our generation applied so many flavors to the meat, but it was barbecue none the less.  Documented use of fire spans into deep time, more than 1 million years.  Same with plants.  Native Americans have had regional oral traditions that span thousands of years using our flora for a wide range of foods, medicines and intoxicants.  It should be of no suprise reasearchers studing bone remains would find traces of both activities, no matter how old.  This, how ever, passesas news, equal to saying “gravity works.”  From my point of I thought it needed a wish crack response.

So the next time someone says, “what is new“, you can say in jest  “did you know early “cavemen” ate BBQ and had a salad on the side?”

JRA, 8/2014

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