Evidence for Human Grain Consumption 100,000 Years Ago

ScienceDaily on December 17, 2009, reported findings of a Canadian archeological team who found evidence of systematic grain consumption by ancient humans in Africa:

The consumption of wild cereals among prehistoric hunters and gatherers appears to be far more ancient than previously thought, according to a University of Calgary archaeologist who has found the oldest example of extensive reliance on cereal and root staples in the diet of early Homo sapiens more than 100,000 years ago.

Neolithic technology

This is interesting to me because I’m investigating whether the paleo diet is a good one for people with diabetes.  In case you’re new to the paleo diet, grains are considered verboten by most adherents.  (The paleo diet is also known as the Stone Age diet, caveman diet, and Paleolithic diet.)  The cereal grain mentioned in the ScienceDaily article is wild sorghum.

Many in the paleosphere believe that such ancient humans didn’t have the technical skills to transform wild grains into something edible on a regular basis.  I haven’t read the source material, nor do I have an opinion on whether the archeologists are correct.  I’m just sayin’…

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Mercader, Julio,  et al.  Mozambican grass seed consumption during the Middle Stone Age. Science, December 18, 2009.


Filed under Grains, Paleo diet

6 responses to “Evidence for Human Grain Consumption 100,000 Years Ago

  1. Galina L.

    From my own example I can say that it is easy to stick to a diet if you have obvious benefits from it, like I am stopped having infections, flues, asthma, joints pain, many of allergic reactions, migraines got better, after adopting a no-grain, no-sugar, LC diet. Frozen hunter in Alps, who lived 5000 years ago, carried some grains in his belly, and had arthritis and atherosclerosis. If humans started to eat grains earlier, for me it means they got grain-consumption associated illnesses sooner then Ancient Egyptians did.

  2. I guess the distinction needs to be made between foods used for thriving versus those used for surviving. I remember when starving people in Africa got far more television time than it currently does. At the peak of these famines, people were literally eating anything, including grass. I’m not sure that in 10000 years time we can look back and say grass was a staple of the human diet. Additionally, small amounts of grains used to make some sort of porridge are quite different from consuming a loaf of bread a day. I’m not sure we can really make much of this type of research at all, certainly not in a modern context as justification for eating anything.

  3. I am reading the book, “Wheat Belly” and according to Dr. Davis today’s wheat is much different than the wheat of 100 years ago or more. You couldn’t make a jelly filled doughnut with heritage wheat varieties. Not to say that old wheat is “healthy”, but it is better than today’s wheat.