10,000-Year-Old Tooth Residue Shows Ancestors Ate Fish and Plants

Scientists analyzed microfossils in dental tartar to uncover Mesolithic forager's diet.

A team of researchers discovered something interesting tucked in the dental tartar of a Mesolithic forager from the 8th millennium B.C.E.: microfossils of fish scales, plants and fish muscle fibers. This type of find has never been seen in human remains of Mediterranean people from this age. Scientists used carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis to uncover the results.

Though there has been some evidence that suggested people in the Central Mediterranean caught and ate fish around this time period, this is “the first time we have direct evidence that humans consumed these resources, or used their teeth for de-scaling activities, which is very unique,” University of York archaeologist Dr. Harry Robson said in a press statement, according to Atlas Obscura. 

This discovery could help researchers learn more about how our Adriatic and Mediterranean ancestors lived, and the similarities between their diet and that of modern humans.

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