Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Paleolithic diet may have included snails 10,000 years earlier than previously thought

Date:
August 20, 2014
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
Paleolithic inhabitants of modern-day Spain may have eaten snails 10,000 years earlier than their Mediterranean neighbors. Snails were widespread in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene, but it is still unknown when and how they were incorporated into human diets.

This image depicts Upper Palaeolithic combustion structure containing human collected and cooked land snails and carbonaceous sediments (A) and complete land snails recovered into the combustion structure BM (B).
Credit: Fernández-López de Pablo et al.; CC-BY

Paleolithic inhabitants of modern-day Spain may have eaten snails 10,000 years earlier than their Mediterranean neighbors, according to a study published August 20, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Javier Fernández-López de Pablo from Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social and colleagues.

Related Articles


Snails were widespread in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene, but it is still unknown when and how they were incorporated into human diets. The authors of this study found land snail shell remains from ~30,000 years ago at a recently discovered site in Cova de la Barriada, Spain. To better understand if the inhabitants may have eaten snails, the researchers investigated patterns of land snail selection, consumption, and accumulation at the site, and then analyzed the shells' decay, fossilization process, composition, and age at death by measuring the shell size.

Scientists found groupings of complete shells from a large land snail species at three areas of the site, corresponding to different time points ~30,000 years ago. The adult snails were close to prehistoric human-constructed structures that may have been used to cook the snails, along with stone tools, and other animal remains that were likely roasted in ambers of pine and juniper at 375 C. The authors posit that these results point to previously undiscovered patterns of invertebrate use and may highlight a broadening of the human diet in the Upper Paleolithic in the Mediterranean basin. In neighboring Mediterranean areas, eating land snails didn't appear until about 10,000 years later, which may make these newly found snail shells the oldest known evidence that ancient human populations used them as a food resource in Europe ~30,000 years ago.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Javier Fernández-López de Pablo, Ernestina Badal, Carlos Ferrer García, Alberto Martínez-Ortí, Alfred Sanchis Serra. Land Snails as a Diet Diversification Proxy during the Early Upper Palaeolithic in Europe. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (8): e104898 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104898

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Paleolithic diet may have included snails 10,000 years earlier than previously thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820164658.htm>.
PLOS. (2014, August 20). Paleolithic diet may have included snails 10,000 years earlier than previously thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820164658.htm
PLOS. "Paleolithic diet may have included snails 10,000 years earlier than previously thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820164658.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — Media is calling it an "underwater Pompeii." Researchers have found ruins off the coast of Delos. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins