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New research offers insight into what people ate before agriculture

The rise of agriculture about 11,500 years ago in the Middle East was a milestone for humanity – a revolution in diet and lifestyle that went beyond the way hunter-gatherers had existed for more than 300,000 years. originated in Africa.

Although the scarcity of well-preserved human remains from the period leading up to this watershed has made the diet of pre-agricultural humans somewhat of a mystery, new research now offers insight into this question. Scientists have reconstructed the dietary habits of one such culture from North Africa, surprisingly documenting a heavily plant-based diet.

The researchers examined chemical signatures in bones and teeth from the remains of seven people, as well as several isolated teeth, from about 15,000 years ago found in a cave outside the village of Taforalt in northeastern Morocco. The people were part of what is called the Iberomaurusian culture.

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