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Old 12-20-2009, 09:10 PM   #1
Omar Omar
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"Stone age diet included processed grain" -CBC News

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2...rica-cave.html

W/F/S

Discussion

I still think Paleo is the way to go; eventhough, I my self cannot stay paleo...
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:19 PM   #2
Ryan Lynch
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Re: "Stone age diet included processed grain" -CBC News

From the article...

"Wild sorghum is the ancestor of the chief cereal crop now consumed in sub-Saharan Africa, where it's milled and prepared as porridge, baked goods and sorghum beer."

I don't think they were "eating" grains...

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Old 12-20-2009, 09:27 PM   #3
Shane Skowron
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Re: "Stone age diet included processed grain" -CBC News

From the paleodiet.com:

I am one of many the people who has liked your work on Paleolithic diets however I recently came upon an article which seems to undermine the basic premise that Paleolithic human rarely if ever ate grains. The first article was found here: http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/.../07-grain.htmlYOU MUST ANNOTATE ALL LINKS WHETHER WORK AND FAMILY SAFE.

I also found references to this peer reviewed study upon further searching. The article by Dolores R. Piperno, Ehud Weiss, Irene Hoist & Dani Nadel, "Processing of wild cereal grains in the Upper Paleolithic revealed by starch grain analysis," Nature 430 (2004), seems to indicate that mixed farming quite common as far back as 23,000 years ago.

Doesn't this new evidence greatly undermine your argument at www.beyondveg.com
YOU MUST ANNOTATE ALL LINKS WHETHER WORK AND FAMILY SAFE. that their hasn't been enough time for human adaptation to the Neolithic food sources aka cereal grains? I am just wondering what you think about those articles.

I am quite familiar with the recent paper in Nature, and it in no way changes the basic premise that Paleolithic hominins rarely or never consumed cereal grains. Remember that the Paleolithic period extends from the first appearance of stone tools (2.6 million years ago) until the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago. As I have stated in a number of publications, cereal grains are minimally digestible without milling (grinding) and cooking. The milling serves to breakdown the cell walls and cooking gelatinizes the starch thereby making both the starch and protein within the grain digestible inside the human GI tract.

Although a recent report suggests that hominins may have controlled fire by as early as 700,000 years ago, the best direct evidence for controlled fire use (hearths) do not appear regularly in the fossil record until ~250,000 to 300,000 years ago. Hence, for ~ 90% of the time hominins were present on the planet, cooking would not have been possible and accordingly cereal grains would have been minimally digestible had they been put in the mouth raw.

More relevant is the first appearance of the primitive stone processing tools (saddle stones, mortars, grinding holes etc.) in the fossil record. It has been generally known that these grinding tools first appeared in the upper Paleolithic (40,000 to 10,000 years ago), however until the Nature report, their function had not been directly linked to processing cereal grains. In fact, the evidence shows that in Europe these tools were used to grind soft stones to make ochre (a red dye). Prior to the Nature report, the earliest direct evidence linking grinding tools to grain processing was in the Natufian culture dating to 13,000 years ago. Consequently, the Nature report is important in that it pushes back cereal grain consumption by at least 10,000 years.

However, there are a couple of key points that are relevant. First, no where else in the world except for the Levant is there any evidence for cereal grain consumption at this early date -- not in Europe, not in Asia and not in Africa. Secondly, because cereal grains were not domesticated until 10,000 years ago, grains could have only been consumed seasonally a few weeks out of the year, and would not have been staple foods. Additionally, wild wheat and barley were indigenous to a rather small geographic locale in the middle east and would not have been available to the world's people until after their domestication. Finally, 23,000 years ago, although it may seem historically remote represents less than 1.0 % of the time hominins have resided on earth. Consequently, for 99% of the evolution of virtually all hominins, cereals grains were not part of the diet.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:37 AM   #4
adam adkins
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Paleo man ate grains?

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2...rica-cave.html WFS!!

I am not sure this changes the end game for the paleo diet but it may certainly change the argument. I think one could still say the type of grain, quality of grain, and quantity of grain eaten today is much different (and worse) than the grain eaten by Paleo man but this discovery may eliminate the argument that Paleo man didn't eat grain.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:45 AM   #5
Matthew Green
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Re: Paleo man ate grains?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam adkins View Post
http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2...rica-cave.html WFS!!

I am not sure this changes the end game for the paleo diet but it may certainly change the argument. I think one could still say the type of grain, quality of grain, and quantity of grain eaten today is much different (and worse) than the grain eaten by Paleo man but this discovery may eliminate the argument that Paleo man didn't eat grain.
I really don't think that it changes much at all. The whole paleolitic period as pre aggriculture, there would have been much easier and pleantiful things to collect and prepare than grains. I would think that they may have relied upon such things in times of hardship but not as a big part of their diet.

I think much greater is the finding that 100,000 years ago paleolithic man knew that the grains had to be ground down to gain any sort of nutrition from them.
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:18 PM   #6
Nathan Kulas
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Re: Paleo man ate grains?

I was just reading yesterday how the first evidence of grains being stored was pushed back about 1000 years to 11 thousand years ago. It's not much of a surprise that grains were included - but couldn't have been a staple of the diet until it could be processed in mass amounts. All this says towards paleo is that including some small amount of whole grains might have some place in our physiological and gastrointestinal evolution - but chances are it was only consumed enough to be a small source of calories. Besides, an extra 90K years (on top of the current 10-11K estimate) is nothing in comparson to the other millions of years.
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:20 PM   #7
Shane Skowron
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Re: Paleo man ate grains?

http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=53972
wfs

Read my post there.
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Old 12-23-2009, 06:42 PM   #8
Alicia Michel
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Re: Paleo man ate grains?

Cordain has responded in his Paleo Diet mailing list:

Quote:
Dear ,

Dr. Cordain was recently asked to comment on the articles
entitled "Mozambican Grass Seed Consumption During the
Middle Stone Age" by Julio Mercader in the journal Science,
and "Humans feasting on grains for at least 100,000 years,"
by Katherine Harmon Scientific American. Both articles cite
evidence that humans consumed grain much earlier than was
previously thought.

Dr. Cordain's response:

This is an interesting paper ( Mercader J. Mozambican grass
seed consumption during the middle stone age. Science
2009;326:1680-83) as it may push probable (but clearly not
definite) cereal grain consumption by hominins back to at least
105,000 years ago. Prior to this evidence, the earliest
exploitation of wild cereal grains was reported by Piperno
and colleagues at Ohalo II in Israel and dating to ~23,500
years ago (Nature 2004;430:670-73). As opposed to the Ohalo
II data in which a large saddle stone was discovered with
obvious repetitive grinding marks and embedded starch granules
attributed to a variety of grains and seeds that were
concurrently present with the artifact , the data from
Ngalue is less convincing for the use of cereal grains
as seasonal food. No associated intact grass seeds have been
discovered in the cave at Ngalue, nor were anvil stones
with repetitive grinding marks found. Hence, at best,
the data suggests sporadic use (and not necessarily
consumption) of grains at this early date. Clearly, large
scale processing of sorghum for consumption for extended
periods seems unlikely.

Further, It should be pointed out that consumption of wild
grass seeds of any kind requires extensive technology and
processing to yield a digestible and edible food that likely
did not exist 105,000 years ago. Harvesting of wild
grass seeds without some kind of technology (e.g.
sickles and scythes [not present at this time]) is
tedious and difficult at best. Additionally, containers
of some sort (baskets [not present at this time], pottery
[not present] or animal skin containers are needed to
collect the tiny grains. Many grain species require
flailing to separate the seed from the chaff and then
further winnowing ([baskets not present]), or animal
skins] to separate the seeds from the chaff. Intact
grains are not digestible by humans unless they are
first ground into a flour (which breaks down the cell
walls), and then cooked (typically in water – e.g.
boiling [technology not present]) or parched in a
fire which gelatinizes the starch granules, and thereby
makes them available for digestion and absorption. Because
each and every one of these processing steps requires
additional energy on the part of the gatherer, most
contemporary hunter gatherers did not exploit grains
except as starvation foods because they yielded such
little energy relative to the energy obtained (optimal
foraging theory).

If indeed the grinder/core axes with telltale starch
granules were used to make flour from sorghum seeds,
then the flour still had to be cooked to gelatinize the
starch granules to make it digestible. In Neolithic
peoples, grass seed flour most typically is mixed with
water to make a paste (dough) that is then cooked into flat
breads. It is highly unlikely that the technology or the
behavioral sophistication existed 105,000 years ago to
make flat breads. Whole grains can be parched intact
in fires, but this process is less effective than making
flour into a paste and cooking it to gelatinize the starch
granules. Hence, it is difficult to reconcile the chain of
events proposed by the authors (appearance of sorghum starch
granules on cobbles or grinders = pounding or grinding of
sorghum grains = consumption of sorghum). I wouldn’t hang
my hat on this evidence indicating grains were necessarily
consumed by hominins at this early date. To my mind, the
Ohalo II data still represents the best earliest evidence
for grain consumption by hominins.

Cordially,
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor


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Fort Collins, CO
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Old 12-24-2009, 08:00 AM   #9
Arturo Garcia
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Re: "Stone age diet included processed grain" -CBC News

Interesting stuff fellas!
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Old 12-24-2009, 08:17 AM   #10
James Napier
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Re: "Stone age diet included processed grain" -CBC News

Wouldn't it be more believable that early hominids may have eaten freshly sprouted grains - uncooked? There's nutrition availiable in them there sprouts.
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