Stone age thinking

Paleo diet was not so meaty after all

Charred remains of roasted root vegetables found in 170,000-year-old ashes in a cave near the Swaziland border in South Africa suggest the real Paleo diet included carbohydrates. Researchers found the charred remains of rhizomes (underground storage parts) of Hypoxis plants, which can be as rich in carbs as potatoes, although they taste more like yams, says lead author, Professor Lyn Wadley of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. The amount of charred remains found suggests that roasted root vegetables were a common part of the diet, contrary to the popular notion that early humans didn’t eat carbs. Writing in New Scientist, Wadley said: “I’m afraid the paleo diet is really a misnomer”.  

Wadley L, Backwell L, d'Errico F et al. 2020. Cooked starchy rhizomes in Africa 170 thousand years ago. Science. 367 (6473) 87Š\91.