Thursday, October 18, 2007

164,000 year-old man is a bold man...

"It was a bold man that first tasted an oyster." The mirrored walls behind the oyster bars of New Orleans post cute, catchy sayings like this -- you also see them on T-shirts. According to Bartlett, Jonathan Swift was the author: "He was a bold man that first eat an oyster." -- Polite Conversation. Dialogue ii.

Well, now we know: Swift's bold man did his tasting far earlier than anyone suspected.

"Evidence of early humans living on the coast in South Africa, harvesting food from the sea, employing complex bladelet tools and using red pigments in symbolic behavior 164,000 years ago, far earlier than previously documented, is being reported in the journal Nature."

The new finding about food from the sea: "is the earliest dated observation" of humans eating seafood, said the author of the Nature article, Curtis Marean, a paleoanthropologist at Arizona State University. He stated that at that time, "in coastal South Africa humans expanded their diet to include shellfish and other marine resources, perhaps as a response to harsh environmental conditions."

Quotes are from: "Earliest Evidence Of Modern Humans Detected," in Science Daily yesterday. The story has been widely re-hashed in the press.

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