Neanderthal Cooking 70kya
There are many mysteries surrounding our long-lost cousins, the Neanderthals. From how they survived to how they went extinct. One thing that has been recently discovered that changes the way we think about Neanderthals is their diet, how they consumed food, and how they even processed it. For a long time, anthropologists have been very wary of giving Neanderthals more credit than they possibly deserve. Still, as we learn more about this enigmatic species, we see how close to us they really are. Their behavior, what they did, and why seem to become much more evident with recent scientific discoveries. Today we will be discussing the discovery of how Neanderthals processed their food, something that is critical to their survival during their time, as well as leading to what we know as cooking and preparing food today.
We once believed that Neanderthals survived off of essential foods and ate them in a state that was raw or hard to consume. But we have found evidence of food processing in Franahithi Cave in the Zagros Mountains near Shandihar cave. Not just animals that were bothered and eaten but instead cooked and prepared. Something that we did not think Neanderthals were capable of until recently. We have learned that Neanderthals could process their food, turning raw materials into more nutritious substances that helped them survive. The range of food that they ate was much more extensive than previously thought. The content of the food they consumed is much more extensive than first believed by Anthropologists.
In Shandihar Cave, we see many remains of food processing, which we thought only modern humans could. Still, it turns out that Neanderthals were also processing their food to make it more digestible and even better tasting. No evidence exists that certain plants, herbs, and spices were used in Neanderthal cooking to flavor bland roots and tubers. Even the meat that they would have collected would have been tempered. This shows that Neanderthals were preparing their food rather than eating whatever they could find when they were looking.
The main point of these discoveries is that Neanderthals were processing their food; they used ingredients for flavors, such as wild mustard and other roots and legumes; it is clear that the Neanderthal diet was much more extensive than once believed. Their control over what they make and eat is comprehensive, thanks to the most recent discoveries in this area.
Adding tasteful ingredients to food preparation seems to have started with Neanderthals and seems to have continued through us; there is so much one can do with flavorings that make inedible food much tastier, and often it is these bland foods that are most nutritious. So adding flavoring to them would have made them much easier to get down and helped the population survive and continue with good food resources.
Of course, this new diet did not save the Neanderthals; as we all know, they fell away into the annals of antiquity, leaving behind some bones, tools, and their DNA within us. But there is so much we can learn about them, and we gather new information about this species daily.
Knowing what they were doing with their food, we have a much more robust understanding of their daily lives, what they did, and why. Only new things will come going forward, but knowing this is how we will make further discoveries surrounding our ancient cousins and what we will learn next could change everything.
Never forget, there is always more to learn!