Antique Teeth, Mesolithic People Show Fish and Plant Eating

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Microscopic fish and plant remains emerged outside a skeleton 8,000 years old in a cave in Croatia.

It carries traces of fish scale and fish tissue on mesolithic tooth. C: Roma La Spienza University

An analysis of the skeletal remains of a Mesolithic man in a cave in a Croatian island revealed microscopic fish and plant remains on the dental plaque on the outskirts, the first discovery for the period and the region.

Previous analysis of Mesolithic skeletal remains in the region has shown the existence of a more diverse Mediterranean diet, including terrestrial, freshwater, and marine nutrients, which are not quite different from those of modern humans today.

Although this new finding is the only skeleton sample that provides evidence of both the fish and the presence of plants in the diet of early humans in the region, researchers believe that the adriatic and mediterranean hunter collectors offer important clues about the lifestyle.

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The young male skeleton found microfossils embedded in the dental calcification, more commonly known as dental plaque or tartar, in which fish scales and fish scales appeared.

As a result of the analysis, in the dental calculus, also in the skeletal remains of this part of the Mediterranean, plant microfossils were detected. According to the researchers, encountering both antique plants and fish remains in the teeth shows how important dental remains are in terms of human evolution.

From the Department of Archeology at York University. "During the Mesolithic period fishery as well as fishing technology have been introduced during the Mesolithic period as well as fish remains, but for the first time we get direct evidence that people are consuming these resources or using their teeth in their flotation activities, which is very unique

The skeleton dated to late 8th millennium BC is also important in the bone chemistry angle. By analyzing the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope, we find out that marine resources are a fundamental element in a continuous timeframe of the diet that the individual has, "

Although they were thought to be similar to tuna, mackerel and sea bream, the team was unable to identify which fish species belonged to fish scales.

Although not a tomb, he was buried intentionally at a point where he was known to be between 30 and 40 years old. Long-term consumption of marine resources is quite rare for this period and region, but dental analyzes on more skeletal finds may help to clarify whether this is common for early human diets

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Professor Emanuela Cristiani, chief researcher at the University of La Sapienza in Rome, said, "This is an exciting, yet surprising finding. We have only three skeletal remains of this period, which show the long consumption of marine resources, so when you can identify such microfossils, a great breakthrough can be realized in our understanding.

The information in our hand presents a new perspective on the hunter's collective diet in the Mediterranean region, opening up the importance of marine organisms throughout the Mesolithic period.

The recovery of starch particles from the weed groups in the dental calculus of the analyzed individual shows that energy-rich plants are part of the Holocene hunter-gatherer feeding habits in the region. "

Science Daily. May 31, 2018.

Article : Cristiani, E., Radini, A., Borić, D., Robson, HK, Caricola, I., Carra, M., … & Vujević, D. 2018). Dental calculus and isotopes provide direct evidence of fish and plant consumption in Mesolithic Mediterranean. Scientific reports, 8 (1), 8147.


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