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Seaweed Was a Staple for Early Europeans


An analysis of fossilized dental plaque has revealed that seaweed and aquatic plants were once a staple food for ancient Europeans, challenging previous assumptions about their diets. This research, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that the consumption of nutrient-rich plants and algae was common in ancient Europe but difficult to detect in the archaeological record. Prior research suggested that the advent of farming led ancient humans to largely stop eating seaweed. A team of archaeologists examined the teeth of 74 early humans from 28 archaeological sites across Europe, dating back more than 8,000 years. Chemical markers in dental calculus revealed that 26 samples contained evidence of seaweed or aquatic plant consumption. The study demonstrates that ancient people consumed red, green, and brown seaweed, as well as various freshwater aquatic plants. This suggests that the nutritional benefits of seaweed were well understood, and people maintained their dietary link with the sea. Seaweed was found in various regions, including coastal and inland areas, emphasizing its widespread consumption in ancient Europe. Click here to read more.

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