EARLY HUMANS DINED ON TORTOISES FOR 200,000 YEARS
A team of researchers, headed up by the Tel Aviv University (Israel), has recently been studying animal remains fund in a cave known as the Qesem Cave, located 12 km from Tel Aviv.
Human occupation of the cave was first identified in 2010 and is recorded as having started approximately 400,000 years ago and covered a span of 200,000 years. Whilst it is widely known that early humans captured, cooked and ate large game (in addition to a vegetarian diet), the discovery made by the team indicates that turtles also formed a significant part of their diet. Whilst not being as nutritious as larger game, the turtles nevertheless provided substantial calorific value, enough to warrant the time and effort needed in their capture, transport and preparation.
Studies of the remains found indicate that there were two main ways of cooking these heavily armored creatures, either by roasting whole within the shell or by splitting the shell open with flint tools and roasting the flesh on its own. As turtle remains were found at most levels throughout the cave it is thought that they must have been part of the diet throughout the 200,000-year human occupation.
Edited from EurekAlert! (1 February 2016)