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Ancient humans were eating giant land snails as far back as 170,000 years ago
While these mollusks may be considered slimy and unsightly today, they were once a valuable source of food for our early ancestors
A team of researchers from the University of York and the University of Cape Town have found evidence that ancient humans cooked and ate giant land snails around 170,000 years ago. The evidence was found at Border Cave, a rock shelter in South Africa and published in Quaternary Science.
The researchers found fragments of giant African land snail shells that had been burned. They also found stone tools that were likely used to cook the snails. The researchers believe that the snails were a valuable source of food for ancient humans.
This is the earliest evidence of humans eating giant land snails. It suggests that humans were eating a more diverse diet than previously thought. It also suggests that humans were able to adapt to different environments, including those with limited resources.
The researchers hope that their findings will help to shed light on the diet and lifestyle of ancient humans. They also hope that their findings will help to protect the giant African land snail, which is now considered to be a vulnerable species.
Wojcieszak, M., Backwell, L., Francesco d’Errico, & Wadley, L. (2023). Evidence for large land snail cooking and consumption at Border Cave c. 170–70 ka ago. Implications for the evolution of human diet and social behaviour. Quaternary Science Reviews, 306(108030), 108030. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2023.108030