Today, we find multiple modes for cooking our everyday food. We use a gas stove, induction cooktop, microwave oven, OTG etc to prepare different types of dishes. But ages back, only fire was the mode of cooking. In fact, it was considered to be one of the first steps taken towards human civilization. Until now, we knew that the earliest evidence of cooking dates back to approximately 170,000 years ago. But recent research in this regard claims, it was around 7,80,000 years ago that human beings first used fire to cook food; that too in Israel.
According to a report in ANI, this scientific discovery was conducted by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU), Tel Aviv University (TAU), and Bar-Ilan University (BIU), in collaboration with the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Oranim Academic College, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR) institution, the Natural History Museum in London, and the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. These findings shed new light on the matter and were published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.
According to the study, the discovery was made after a close analysis of the remains of a carp-like fish found at the Gesher Benot Ya'aqov (GBY) archaeological site in Israel. It was found that "the fish was cooked roughly 780,000 years ago".
The researchers stated, "This study demonstrates the huge importance of fish in the life of prehistoric humans, for their diet and economic stability." They further stated that the large quantity of fish remains found at the site proves that it was one of the major sources of diet for the people back then.
The researchers analysed the pharyngeal teeth of the carp fish. By studying the structure, they were able to prove that the fish caught at the ancient Hula Lake, adjacent to the site, were exposed to temperatures suitable for cooking, and were not simply burned by a spontaneous fire.
"Gaining the skill required to cook food marks a significant evolutionary advance, as it provided an additional means for making optimal use of available food resources. It is even possible that cooking was not limited to fish, but also included various types of animals and plants," the study added.