Oversimplification of Cavemen


The idea of caveman hunter-gatherers is an oversimplification, according to new research into the diet of some of our ancestors.

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A team led by Anna Revedin of the Italian Institute of Prehistory and Early History has cast doubt on the popular idea of prehistoric “man the hunter,” reports ScienceNOW.1 The team’s research instead turned up evidence for human flour-making farther back in time than old-earth scientists previously believed.

The scientists studied grinding tools found at “prehistoric” human sites in Italy, Russia, and the Czech Republic. Although some scientists have hypothesized that the tools were used to grind plants for meals, an alternative explanation is that the tools were used to grind up pigment used in face painting.

But Revedin’s team uncovered starch grains on the grinding tools, strongly suggesting that they were indeed used for turning plants into flour. The flour may have then been used to make bread or soup.

Creationists can take the discovery with a grain of salt—or starch, perhaps. Because the team used controversial radiocarbon dating methods to estimate the age of the grinding tools, they are not necessarily the oldest examples we have of human food processing. The date estimated exceeds the timeline of biblical history, and we can be confident that antediluvian humans knew well how to process plants (whether they did so regularly or not); after all, we know from as far back as Genesis 3:17–19 and Genesis 4:2 that both Adam and Cain farmed the land.

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  1. Kristen Minogue, “The Cavemen’s Complex Kitchen,” Science, October 18, 2010, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2010/10/cavemens-complex-kitchen.


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