- People started grinding flour at least 30,000 years ago, new evidence suggests.
- Prehistoric humans, and possibly Neanderthals, likely made bread and soup out of cattail flour.
- The findings suggest that starches and vegetables played an important role in Paleolithic diets.
Dirty "kitchen" tools reveal that cavemen were grinding their own flour and preparing vegetables for meals at least 30,000 years ago, according to new research.
The discoveries represent the oldest evidence for flour preparation and plant food processing. Since the techniques were already well established during the Mid-Upper Paleolithic Period, it's likely that modern humans, and possibly even Neanderthals, incorporated far more plant products into their diets than presently believed.
Cavemen were apparently expert cooks too, so enjoyment of tasty prepared food is not unique to modern times. It also boosted the diners' health.
"Cooking enhances digestibility and also the taste of starch is improved by cooking," lead author Anna Revedin explained to Discovery News, adding that it also helped to fuel the active lifestyle of hunter-gatherers.