Let me get this out quickly, before I get yet another email.
Here’s the bullshit in question:
LONDON (Reuters) — Starch grains found on 30,000-year-old grinding stones suggest that prehistoric humans may have dined on an early form of flatbread, contrary to their popular image as primarily meat eaters. […]
The findings may also upset fans of the so-called Paleolithic diet, which follows earlier research that assumes early humans ate a meat-centered diet.
Well, fortunately, Melissa McEwen actually got hold of the actual study and read it.
The title says flour, but that’s not the good old white flour your Aunt Maude is thinking of. Of the nine species mentioned, one is a seed, the rest are roots and rhizomes. That ground starch has been used by humans since the upper paleolithic is not really news. Famous anthropologist Richard Wrangham who wrote Catching Fire has been writing about the role of cooked starch in the Upper Paleolithic for quite some time. In the Upper Paleolithic it might have spurred population increases that eventually led to early settlements like Gobekli Tepe. There has been selection for genes like AMY1 which allow for better starch digestion.
And the paper writers and like HAHA look the carnivorous Atkins people are soooo wrong. But wait, I think isotope studies are a little more accurate than a few as the paper admits "poor preserved" plant remains. And the evidence is that the paleolithic diet was mostly animal protein.
Alright, can we put this one to bed, already? Look, I’ve never doubted that humans in the wild ate whatever was edible that they could find. I just don’t think it makes any sense that they would have spent much time out gathering wild seeds, like birds. In most instances, they would probably have expended more calories in the gathering than would have been provided.
And even so, 30,000 years vs. 10,000 or 20,000 is still a drop in the evolutionary bucket.